The worst enemies of air travel in Vietnam: dogs and birds

By Huu Nguyen   April 3, 2017 | 07:24 pm PT
The worst enemies of air travel in Vietnam: dogs and birds
A dog on the tarmac at a Vietnamese airport in a file photo. Photo by Bao Giao Thong (Transport Newspaper)
At least crying babies or tasteless sandwiches won't disrupt your schedule.

Dogs and birds are cute and all. Until they are not.

Aviation authorities in Vietnam have reported that the animals continued to show up at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport out of nowhere, causing delays and threatening safety.

Over the past three months, a flock of around 30 pigeons occupied the runways almost every day. And at least 10 cases of wandering dogs have been reported during the period.

The Southern Airport Authority said that most of these "invasions" happened in the morning and sometimes a plane had to circle because there was a dog on the tarmac.

On February 9, a Saigon-Hanoi flight had to be delayed because a dog prevented the plane from taking off.

Tan Son Nhat, the country's biggest airport, is not the only one feeling helpless. On February 27, a dog wandering around an airport in the northern province of Dien Bien caused an airplane to land 15 minutes late.

Aviation officials said flight safety at Tan Son Nhat has also been threatened regularly by people flying kites and pointing lasers at aircraft. These human-related incidents were first reported last year and kept happening this year.

Police in Hanoi are looking for the person flashing laser beams at a VistaJet plane flying from Phnom Penh to Noi Bai Airport last month.

Aviation officials said it is hard to identify a specific location where the beams came from and thus no one has been punished in cases such as this.

Last summer, the management of Vietnamese airports proposed a $52-million system to detect objects and hazards, including birds, to improve aviation safety in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Critics dismissed the proposal as unfeasible.

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