Transport Ministry asks NCPO ban sky lanterns for safety

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BANGKOK, Nov 3 – The Transport Ministry will ask the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to ban the release of sky lanterns that may jeopardize aviation and to increase the fine for violators to Bt100,000.

Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said the ban would be imposed in particular areas and hours to prevent aviation problems especially in the North where many flights were rescheduled to avoid such airborne flight hazards.

He is concerned about the release of lanterns during the Loy Krathong and New Year festivals. The minister will propose the ban to the prime minister and the NCPO.

Voradej Harnprasert, deputy permanent secretary for transport, said the ban would set clear punishments including a harsh fine of as much as Bt100,000.

The Civil Aviation Department reported that sky lanterns were now causing more problems than in the past.

Last November people sought permission for release of 12,086 sky lanterns and pilots of 1,441 flights informed the department of sky lantern releases that had not been reported in advance.

The Transport Ministry is informing the public of the dangers of airborne lanterns and warning airlines to suspend landings and takeoffs at Chiang Mai airport from 6pm from Nov 5 to 7.