Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Chiang Mai authorities to curb sky lantern release after airliner grounded

CHIANG MAI, 6 January 2015 (NNT) – Authorities in Chiang Mai are set to meet on Friday to deliberate measures to curb the release of sky lanterns after as many as 206 landed inside Chiang Mai Airport during the night of New Year's Eve and the following morning. Some of the lanterns were also found inside the jet engine of an airliner at the airport. 

Provincial Governor Suriya Prasatbandit said on Monday the release of sky lanterns has become a tourism selling point of Chiang Mai Province. Previously, the sky lanterns were released only during the Loy Krathong (Yipeng) Festival. At present the lanterns are released almost on every occasion, resulting in several fires and disruptions to air traffic. Mr. Suriya said all relevant local agencies will meet on Friday to discuss measures and laws currently available for use in curbing the release of the sky lanterns. The meeting will also deliberate curfew periods for the release of sky lanterns, and areas where releases are banned. 

Governor Suriya added that authorities will also devise measures to ensure that sellers of sky lanterns only make available products that fall in accord with the established standard. 

Group Captain Wisut Chanthana, director of Chiang Mai Airport, told media that sky lanterns that fall in accordance with the law should not cause damage to aircraft engines. However, there currently are illegal varieties that are fitted with gas canisters or other modifications that can harm aircraft. He noted that nonetheless, it is preferable that no foreign objects enter the engine as there is always a risk of causing harm. 

Firefighters at Chiang Mai Airport told the media that 206 sky lanterns were collected from airport grounds during the night of New Year's Eve and the following morning. In comparison, 30-40 were collected each night during the Loy Krathong Festival. The shocking number of sky lanterns that made their way into the airport was attributed to the wind direction on the night of New Year's Eve, which blew the lanterns into the airport from the main release sites in downtown Chiang Mai.

- Source:    http://thainews.prd.go.th

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