January 12: Troublemakers who shine a light or a laser at aircraft around UK airports can now be prosecuted under a new law, says the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Previously anyone caught shining a laser at an aircraft could have been charged with ‘recklessly endangering an aircraft’, but now offenders can be prosecuted under Article 222 of the Air Navigation Order 2009 for ‘shining a light at an aircraft in flight so as to dazzle the pilot’.
The new law is in response to an increase in incidents around British airports with 737 occurrences reported last year.
Bob Jones, Head of Flight Operations at the CAA, said: “This new criminal charge will strengthen the hand of law enforcement agencies in their efforts to tackle this problem. I advise individuals who may think shining a laser at an aircraft is a bit of fun, to think again. The chances of getting caught are increasing rapidly and, once caught, criminal charges are now inevitable. Anyone who witnesses a laser being shone at an aircraft should contact the police immediately – just as they would seeing any other criminal act.”