Flooding threatens flights at Tan Son Nhat Airport

Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City faces flooding whenever it rains.


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In early April, a heavy rain flooded several parking places and delayed many flights.

The airport was flooded again after a rain in last August. A runway was submerged under 30cm of water and shut down for an hour. Some parking places were also flooded. Nearly 70 flights were affected, including four international flights to Cambodia and Thailand.

The heavy rain in 2015 caused the most serious consequences when the airport had to close after the parking lot and the old air traffic control tower were flooded.   

Tan Son Nhat Airport uses the city’s drainage system so the water has nowhere to go when its surroundings are flooded. As 40% of the flights in Vietnam are from or to Tan Son Nhat Airport, any disruption in service will cause a severe chain reaction. Planes will have to circle or land at other airports.

Floods also damage the infrastructure. Tran Doan Mau, the director of the Southern Aviation Authority, said that they had installed pumps but they would be useless if there were heavy rains for four to five days. The 2km-long A41 Canal helps regulate 50% of the airport’s water but the dredging project has been delayed. Moreover, Mau said it was being blocked by the locals and rubbish.

Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the Department of Transport, will propose to speed up the dredging project and agencies will survey the area and propose solutions.

Nguyen Ngoc Cong, director of the Steering Centre of the Urban Flood Control Programme in Ho Chi Minh City said the city authorities were planning to upgrade the canal. If the plan is carried out, it will be completed in 2019 at the cost of VND200bn (USD8.8m).

The area has three main drainage directions comprising Hy Vong, Nhat Ban and A41 canals. The city will also upgrade Nhat Ban Canal this September.

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