Lanterns see Chiang Mai flights halted

Lanterns see Chiang Mai flights halted

A total of 38 flights will be rescheduled or cancelled in order to avoid accidents involving floating sky lanterns during the traditional Yi Peng festival, Chiang Mai International Airport has announced.

The sky lanterns cause annual safety concerns, so airport chiefs have asked several airlines for their cooperation in order to reduce the risk of accidents, Kritsada Pugasab, deputy director of Chiang Mai International Airport, said yesterday.

From the previously listed flights to and from the airport, 16 will be cancelled and 22 others will be rescheduled between Saturday, Oct 31 and Sunday, Nov 1, he said.

Nevertheless, the airport remains a designated emergency landing facility, said Mr Kritsada.

All parts of Muang Chiang Mai and Hang Dong districts, as well as some areas of Mae Rim, San Sai and Saraphi districts, fall within an aviation safety zone and therefore must be free from lanterns, he warned.

Violators will be liable to five years in jail and/or a fine up to 200,000 baht.

In addition, patrols will be ramped up from four to 10 per day, in order to sweep away pieces of fallen lanterns.

For the other districts in the area, safety measures will see the launching of lanterns restricted to between the hours of 7pm on Oct 31 and 1am on Nov 1.

The number of lanterns permitted and areas they can be launched from will also be tightly controlled.

Requests for permission to stage events involving flying lanterns must be made to local district offices 15 days in advance so that district chiefs can inform the airport at least seven days in advance, he said.

More details, including prohibited launch areas, are available on the "Chiang Mai International Airport-CNX" Facebook page.

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