78 Chiang Mai flights cancelled for sky lantern festival

Celebrants prepare to release floating hot air lanterns during the traditional Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai. (Bangkok Post file photo)

CHIANG MAI: Airlines will cancel 78 flights through Chiang Mai airport on Friday and Saturday to avoid the danger posed by floating sky lanterns during the traditional Yi Peng Festival.

Chiang Mai airport general manager Gp Cpt Manathanik Rakngam said on Monday airlines had informed the airport of the cancellation of 58 domestic and 20 international flights over the two days.

Domestic airlines will also reschedule 53 flights and international carriers 26 flights during the same period, he added.

The annual Lanna-style Loy Krathong Festival is highlighted by the launch of sky lanterns. It is held throughout the northern region. Release times for the flying lanterns have been limited, and areas designated where they cannot be flown, for the safety of aircraft.

In Chiang Mai, the province allows the hot-air lanterns to be flown from 7pm on Friday to 1am on Saturday, and smoke lanterns to take off from 10am to noon on Saturday.

Gp Cpt Manathanik said the airport has reminded all organisers they must strictly follow the time restrictions. Airport authorities will step up routine checks from Tuesday to Sunday to ensure all lanterns are cleared away from the runway.

Authorities will step up runway checks at Chiang Mai airport during the Yi Peng Festival. (Photo by Cheewin Sattha)

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