Vietnam considers closing Tan Son Nhat in downpours following heavy floods

By VnExpress, Agencies   September 12, 2016 | 10:49 pm PT
Vietnam considers closing Tan Son Nhat in downpours following heavy floods
Tan Son Nhat Airport is flooded after a heavy downpour in October 2015. Photo by VnExpress
Many had to divert to other airports after recent torrential rains.

After two bad floods affected many flights to and from Tan Son Nhat Airport the past two weeks, the aviation authorities now warn that they might have to shut down the country’s largest airport anytime it pours.

Many flights were unable to land at the Ho Chi Minh City’s airport on Sunday afternoon after heavy rain inundated parts of the airport.

Some had to land at other airports in central Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, and even Thailand.

Worse flooding on August 26 affected nearly 70 flights, including four international flights which had to divert to Cambodia and Thailand.

Flooding in August and October last year submerged the airport by up to 20 centimeters and threatened to shut down the power station of its traffic control tower.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, said the problem can totally happen again, as the airport is sharing the strained drainage system with the entire city.

“In the worst scenario, we will have to shut down the airport for safety reason,” he said.

That is not an ideal solution as Tan Son Nhat is accomodating nearly half of air traffic in Vietnam, but it might be the only way.

Other more sustainable solutions such as building reservoirs and dredging waterways around the airport are still on paper.

The city government last July said that it is working on a project to upgrade the 745-meter Japanese canal, one of the main ones around the airport, to help prevent future flooding.

But the project will cost around US$16 million, it said.

Related news:

> Heavy rains turn Saigon airport to seaport

> Saigon to spend $16 mln to save airport from drowning

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