TransportAirlines

Thai Airways steers clear of floating lanterns during annual Loy Krathong festival

Skift Take

A plane among the lanterns in northern Thailand would be a perfect juxtaposition of modern day technology and a centuries-old Buddhist tradition — but not necessarily a safe one.

— Samantha Shankman

Thai Airways International PCL has adjusted its flight schedule to northern Thailand to give way to floating lanterns that will fill the sky during a popular festival later this month.

The airline’s president, Sorajak Kasemsuwan, said in a statement Thursday that the adjustment and temporary suspension of some flights were a precautionary measure to avoid floating lanterns from being suctioned into airplane engines as people in northern Thailand take part in the tradition of releasing floating lanterns during the annual Loy Krathong festival.

The affected routes include Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Bangkok-Chiang Rai during Nov. 27-29.

During Loy Krathong, Thais float small lotus-shaped rafts into rivers to ask for forgiveness from the goddess of water. Northerners believed that flying the floating lanterns would get rid of their bad fortune.

The lanterns become airborne when a candle or fuel cell inside is lit, releasing enough hot air to lift the lantern like a mini-hot air balloon.

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