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Chiang Mai residents protest 24/7 airport plans

PHOTO: Flickr/Gábor Tikos

Chiang Mai residents have expressed their frustration at plans by the city’s international airport to operate 24 hours a day. Disgruntled residents say they already suffer from sleep disruption as a result of non-stop aircraft noise overhead.

The Bangkok Post reports that residents attended a public hearing on Sunday, October 15, in which they were invited to air their grievances. The residents were representing communities living near the airport, in the sub-district of Mae Hia, in the Mueang district of the city.

The director of Chiang Mai airport, Ronnakorn Chalermsanyakorn, also attended the hearing, which was held at the Mae Hia municipal auditorium. Thanawat Yodjai, head of the Mae Hia municipality, was also in attendance.

Residents were responding to a proposal to operate the airport 24 hours a day from November 1, in order to accommodate an increase in demand. Locals say there’s already enough disruption caused by the airport operating 18 hours a day, with many saying their sleep is disturbed by the noise and vibrations of aircraft taking off and landing.

Some residents say they’ve had roof tiles on their homes damaged by the aircraft vibration, adding that they’re unsure how much more they could put up with. They have also pointed out that they’ve never been adequately compensated for the disruption caused by the airport’s proximity.

Since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chiang Mai, along with many other parts of the country, is seeing an uptick in tourism, including rising air traffic. Ronnakorn says the airport currently manages around 150 flights a day. Of those, 115 are domestic, while the remainder are international. He says if the airport does begin 24-hour-a-day operations, there will be enough demand to fill slots in the early hours.

The airport director has assured local residents that their concerns are being taken on board and will be forwarded to airport bosses for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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