Warning issued as laser attacks at Glasgow Airport double

Laser attacks at Glasgow Airport have almost doubled in a year, posing a 'real threat to flight safety', a pilots' association has warned.
An aircraft takes off from Glasgow Airport. Picture: Robert PerryAn aircraft takes off from Glasgow Airport. Picture: Robert Perry
An aircraft takes off from Glasgow Airport. Picture: Robert Perry

There were 83 incidents at the airport in 2016, up from 44 in 2015, according to figures published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

It was second only to Heathrow, which had the highest level of attacks at 151 incidents - up from 121 in 2015.

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The number of incidents at Edinburgh Airport dropped from 55 in 2015 to 44 last year.

Across the UK, 1,258 laser attacks were reported in 2016, down from 1,439 the year before, which equates to more than three incidents a day on average.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) warned the attacks could soon result in a serious incident if the problem is not tackled.

Balpa flight safety specialist Steve Landells said: “While on the face of it the fall in laser incidents is positive, and may be as a result of our ongoing campaign, we are concerned that at more than three reports a day this figure is still dangerously high.

“We’re also concerned that under-reporting of incidents could mean that we don’t have a true idea of the scale of the problem.

“Shining a laser at aircraft is incredibly dangerous and a real threat to flight safety.

“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.”

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Balpa welcomed new legislation to tighten the law on lasers.

Mr Landells said: “We’ve been campaigning for tougher punishments for offenders for many years and so are encouraged by the recognition of this problem in the new Vehicle Technology and Aviation bill, which proposes to increase the powers of the courts to allow them to impose prison sentences on those putting lives at risk by shining a laser at an aircraft.”