Thailand. So rich with traditions. From spiritual occasions marked by the phase of the moon to the watery rites of Songkran.
So you know it must be early November when the operator of the kingdom’s primary airports pleads with the public not to launch flaming lanterns into the sky anywhere near them. Loy Krathong is Monday, and while folks will be sending their floats gently down the stream, others will be releasing lanterns for the festival of Yee Peng, particularly in the north.
The fusillade of candle-powered lanterns looks amazing but is not so hot for air safety, so Airports of Thailand, or AOT, is once again asking revelers not to revel anywhere near its runways.
“Due to the safety of aircraft in flight, the passengers in them and their possessions the planes are carrying, we would like to ask for your cooperation avoiding these activities which may become hazardous,” President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said in a Thursday statement.
Also, please don’t light fireworks, shine lasers or fly drones within 9 kilometers of all airports, he added.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport Director Sutirawat Suwannawat told reporters that officials will distribute leaflets to citizens around the airport to raise public awareness of the dangers of such activities. In case it wasn’t obvious, which, year after year, it doesn’t seem to be.
“Airport officials will surveil the runway in order to make sure no foreign objects are in the way of aircrafts. They will be extra vigilant around the aircraft landing strips and within 9 kilometers of the airport,” he said.
So far, about 160 flights have been canceled at the six airports operated by AOT between Sunday through Tuesday for Loy Krathong and Yee Peng.
Passengers can get updated information 24/7 about flight schedules from AOT’s English-limited 1722 hotline.
The next time-hallowed event on the Thai calendar comes Wednesday, when people shake their heads over photos of waterways choked with tens of thousands of krathongs and renew their vows to better next year.