Bangkok: Anyone found guilty of causing closure or damage of an airport in Thailand could face the death penalty under new proposed law by the military junta.
The National Legislative Assembly (NLA), set up by the military junta, has already passed the first reading of the new bill proposed to replace the 1978 and 1995 laws.
The draft states that a person will face execution or life imprisonment if they destroy an aircraft in service, damage an aircraft so that it is no longer operational or put any material in an aircraft that damages it.
Forcing the closure of an airport, damaging airport facilities or aircraft at an airport plus any action that maims or kills someone in an airport would result in the death penalty or a life sentence, according to Article 19 of the proposed bill.
A person would also face the death penalty or life imprisonment for murdering someone in an airport.
NLA member Somchai Sawangkarn said putting someone to death for causing an airport's closure might be too harsh.
"Personally, I don't support the closure of airports. But in some cases an airport operation needs to be shut down for other reasons such as what happened in 2008 when protesters shut the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports," he said, adding that "the law should give the operators some room for decisions".
Klanarong Chantik, an NLA member said some articles in the proposed bill were not realistic and might affect the aviation industry.
He said Article 12 stated that alcohol or drug-affected passengers who caused a disturbance on a flight face five years imprisonment or a fine or both.
"This article means serving alcohol on board is prohibited," he said.
Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong said the government would take all the concerns of lawmakers into consideration and would amend the bill during meetings of an ad-hoc committee.
The goal of the legislation is to protect passengers and people involved in the aviation industry, he said.