Residents threaten to disrupt flights at noisy Bangkok airport

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Bangkok, Feb 17 (UNI) Angered by delayed compensation for noise pollution, hundreds of residents near the Suvarnabhumi International Airport here have threatened to disrupt flights next week by launching balloons and firing rockets.

Some 32 housing communities affected by the noise of aircraft taking off from and landing at the airport are locked in a confrontation with the country's civil airport utility since the airport opened in September 2006.

Ignoring warnings by authorities that their action could lead to them being arrested, the residents' leaders announced yesterday they would act if the Airports of Thailand (AoT) did not heed their plea for enhanced compensation by February 23.

''Please understand that we have no authority to stop any of the residents who were told only lies by the AoT. We will not be responsible for any action that may be taken on the day. It is an individual decision to protect his or her own rights,'' Wanchart Manathamsombat, a leader of the noise-affected communities told a press conference.

''We have waited more than one year and four months since the airport came into operation. But we have not seen any results from our complaints. The AoT always distorts information and has never shown any sincerity towards us,'' Prasert Boonkeaw, an airport noise-affected resident was quoted as saying.

According to newspaper reports today, residents near the airport had released more than 100 balloons at night in early January, delaying flights by more than two hours.

The government has rejected affected residents' demand that AoT buy houses in areas where the airport noise is louder than 70 decibels. Instead, AoT has offered to repair damages to houses caused by aircraft noise and pay compensation tothe owners.

UNI XC SKB YA KP1100

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