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Regular Downpours May Shut Down Tan Son Nhat Due to Flooding Threat: Official

Less than one month after an epic downpour turned Saigon into a swimming pool and paralyzed Tan Son Nhat International Airport (TSN), a shower which occurred last Sunday forced the facility's management board to consider closing the aerodrome every time it rains cats and dogs in the future.

According Lai Xuan Thanh, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, severe flooding that cripples airport operations could be commonplace in the future.

“As [TSN] is still using the same drainage system as the city, when the surrounding area floods, water around the airport can’t go away either,” he told Thanh Nien. “The worst case is that we have to stop airport activities when there’s heavy flooding to maintain flight safety.”

TSN has been trying to fix the flooding problem ever since a downpour in 2015 disabled its runways, but without a large-scale set of solutions that addresses the root cause, it looks like Tan Son Nhat International “Seaport” is here to stay.

During an interview with the news source, the director of the Southern Airport Authority, Tran Doan Mau, explained how the airport is dealing with common flooding.

“Currently, the immediate solution when flooding happens after heavy rain is pumping excess water out into nearby canals,” Mau explained. “We have two high-power pumps located at the old control tower, each can drain about 1,000 cubic meters per hour.”

Another contributing factor to TSN’s drainage problem is the clogged system of canals around the aerodrome. According to Zing, the A41 canal along Phan Thuc Duyen Street has been gradually eaten up by new houses in the neighborhood. Airport authorities have asked the municipal government to clean up the canal and restore its flow and width so that water can be drained faster after downpours. However, this proposal still hasn’t been greenlit.

The sudden heavy rain which fell on August 26 caused major delays to airport operations, affecting 70 flights, four of which had to divert to airports in Cambodia and even Thailand. Last year, on October 9, another bout of torrential rain also inundated TSN with 20 centimeters of floodwaters and forced authorities to close the airport due to the threat of water getting into its electric substation.

[Photo via Bao Moi]

Related Articles:

[Photos] Downpour Turns Saigon Into Swimming Pool

[Photos] Saigon Turns Into Swimming Pool After Torrential Downpour

Officials Consider Another Tan Son Nhat Expansion as Overcrowding Becomes Dire

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