Laser attacks at Heathrow Airport increase

Laser attacks at Heathrow Airport increase

Laser attacks at Heathrow Airport have increased

Monday, February 27, 2017

New figures show laser attacks on aircraft using Heathrow Airport rose by a quarter last year.

151 incidents were suffered by pilots taking off and landing at the airport in 2016.

This is up from 121 during the previous year and was more than any other UK airport, according to aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Former RAF and British Airways pilot Steve Landells warned that shining a laser at an aircraft is "incredibly dangerous.

"The power of these devices is increasing and we're concerned that, if left to escalate without significant intervention, we could see a serious incident happen in the near future."

The total laser attacks for the whole of the UK was 1,258, down from 1,439 during the previous year.

Last year, the head of the CAA called for people found carrying powerful laser pointers to be arrested, even if they are not using them.

Earlier this month, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced plans to introduce new legislation meaning people who shine lasers at pilots could be jailed or face hefty fines.

It is already an offence to endanger aircraft by shining lasers at pilots, and offenders can be fined up to £2,500. But under the plans, police will only have to prove the offence of shining the laser.