Above: Heathrow Airport reported 151 incidents in 2016
Figures releases by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) show 1,258 laser attacks took place on aircraft landing or taking off from UK airports in 2016.
Heathrow remains the airport experiencing the highest level of laser-related attacks, with 151 incidents recorded in 2016 – up from 121 in 2015.
Glasgow’s number of reported incidents almost doubled from the previous year to 83, with Birmingham and Manchester airports reporting 73 and 72 respectively.
Steve Landells, British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) flight safety specialist, said, “While on the face of it the fall in laser incidents is positive [the UK-wide total is down from 1,439 in 2015], 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.
“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,” he added.