Government drops new laws on dangerous laser pens – pilots say it’s infuriating and dangerous
Despite “dangerously high” figures on laser attacks on aircraft, the new Government has dropped plans to introduce tougher laws, a move which the UK pilots’ association says is “infuriating and dangerous”.
Before the general election, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) was pleased to see a specific laser offence included in the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill.
BALPA had been campaigning for the tougher laws in response to consistently high reports of laser attacks on planes year on year. Last year’s figures stood at more than 1,200 reported attacks.
The new offence proposed that offenders could face up to five years in prison if they shone a laser at an aircraft.
However, BALPA has now learned that the Bill will not now include the laser regulations.
The association has constantly warned that shining a laser at aircraft is extremely dangerous, particularly in critical phases of flight such as take-off and landing, putting the lives of passengers at risk.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:
“It is infuriating to see the changes we’d hoped for appear to have been discarded.
“Not having this legislation is dangerous and puts the lives of passengers and crew at risk.
“The proposed tougher laws received cross-party support so it’s baffling that they have been dropped.
“When a laser pen is pointed at an aircraft it can dazzle and distract the pilot, and has the potential to cause a crash.
“Last year’s incident figures remain dangerously high, with the equivalent of more than three laser attacks a day across the UK.”