CHIANG MAI: Flying of lanterns within the air safety zone around Chiang Mai airport is prohibited during the annual Yi Peng festival on Nov 8-9, and airlines have rescheduled and cancelled flights to further lessen the danger to aircraft, airport director Wichit Kaewsaithiam said.
Mr Wichit said people must strictly observe the Air Navigation Act and the provincial announcement issued in 2020.
Under the provincial announcement, the release of lanterns and flying of kites in the designated aviation safety zone of Chiang Mai airport is prohibited.
The safety zone extends over an area 4.6 kilometres wide on each side of the runways and out to 18.5 kilometres at each end. It encompassed 16 tambons of Muang district, five tambons of Saraphi district, one tambon of San Sai district, 11 tambons of Hang Dong district, five tambons of Mae Rim district and one tambon of San Pa Tong district.
Violators of the restrictions are liable to a jail term of up to five years and/or fine up to 200,000 baht.
Outside the safety zone, people can fly lanterns and other kites during the Yi Peng festival on Nov 8-9 between 7pm and 1am.
However, community leaders were required to seek permission from their district chief 30 days in advance. After receiving permission, they were required to notify Chiang Mai airport or the Chiang Mai aviation control centre 14 days in advance so that a notice could be issued to pilots.
Mr Wichit said airlines had also reschedule flights to avoid possible danger from the lanterns. He said 55 flights had been cancelled and 14 rescheduled on Nov 8-9. There would be six additional special flights during the two days. Details were being announced by the airlines concerned.
Despite flight cancellations and rescheduling, emergency services at the airport would remain ready around the clock, Mr Wichit said.
Yi Peng is a yearly festival unique to northern Thailand to celebrate the full moon of the 12th lunar month, and coincides with the traditional Loy Krathong festival celebrated nationwide.