Floating Lantern Festival: Thailand cancels, reschedules flights in northern regions

Thai Airways International says it would cancel some round trip flights from the Thai capital Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Thailand cancels, reschedules flights ahead of lantern festival
People release sky lanterns ahead of the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival Reuters

Thailand's Chiang Mai International Airport authorities announced on Friday that dozens of flights to and from northern Thailand will be cancelled or rescheduled due to the nations' annual Floating Lantern festival next week.

The authorities said flights would be cancelled between Nov 12 and Nov 16. The changes were done to avoid accidents from hot-air floating lanterns released during the festival span.

The Floating Lantern festival is celebrated at the end of the so-called "rainy season". Residents and tourists launch paper lanterns into the air to coincide with a full moon.

The Chiang Mai Air Traffic Control Centre and the public and private sectors have been asked to make necessary preparations and issue precautionary measures for the event.

Chiang Mai International Airport is the main airport in northern Thailand and it is quite a popular destination for foreign tourists. Hence, the authorities urged the passengers to adjust their travel plans.

In recent years the revelers have been asked to refrain from launching the lanterns as they pose fire risk. This year, the government has asked to scale back the activities held during the festival as a sign of respect for revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away on Oct 13. Officially, Thailand is on a one-year period of mourning for the late monarch.

Authorities have passed strict instructions for releasing hot-air lanterns to maintain safety. In 2015, a Bangkok Airways flight was cancelled after the plane's engine sucked a lantern.

Thai Airways International, the national carrier, said on Thursday it would cancel some round trip flights from the Thai capital Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The airlines would adjust its flight schedule and increase flights to compensate the cancellation issues.