CAA issues guidance on sky lantern releases

Date: 23 September 2013

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is reminding organisers of mass sky lantern releases that they may need to provide details of their event in advance. This is so the CAA can warn airspace users of the possibility of encountering the lanterns in a given area.

The growing trend of releasing large numbers of sky lanterns at private or commercial events creates a potential hazard for aviation. Sky lanterns, sometimes known as Chinese lanterns, can travel considerable distances at unpredictable heights. They can potentially be ingested into the engines of aircraft, or, as they fall to the ground, become dangerous debris on runways. Information about the numbers of lanterns released, and the location of events, are therefore very important when assessing any risk to airspace users.

Organisers of events that are ten miles or less from any airport, or where significant numbers of lanterns are being released at any one time, are urged to refer to the CAA’s online guidance and then, if necessary, contact either the CAA or local aerodrome with details of the event.

In 2011/2012 there were 186 formal notifications of events made to the CAA where over 14,000 lanterns were released. The CAA recommended that 30 of these events should not take place due to their proximity to airports.

Organisers of sky lantern releases can use an online form to notify the CAA of their event

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030;

Notes to Editors:
The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.