4,000 laser attacks on aircraft in Britain since 2012

Almost 4,000 laser attacks on planes and helicopters were recorded at British airports over the past three years. The figures from the Civil Aviation authority (CAA) discloses that thousands of aircraft were targetted by blinding laser lights – but only 84 people had been prosecuted over the incidents.

Laser beams

Laser beams Image by Douglas Muth / CC BY 2.0

Such activity can leave pilots temporarily blinded, which in turns put the lives of all passengers and crew at risk in an affected aircraft. There was a growth rate in such attacks in the first nine months of last year with over 1,000 taking place. In all, 3,984 laser attacks on aircraft were recorded between January 2012 and September 2014.

The general secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa), Mr Jim McAuslan, said: “Across the country there is a large gap between the number of incidents reported by pilots and the number of prosecutions brought. We want all UK police forces to reaffirm their commitment to tackling this mindlessness given the possible threat to flight safety.”

They include 44 at Glasgow airport and 31 at Edinburgh airport. In northern England, there were 37 reports at Newcastle, 78 at Manchester and 53 at Leeds Bradford.

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