Plane laser incidents 'not going away' as figures grow

Plane laser incidents are "just not going away" Credit: PA

Pilots reporting lasers being shone at aircraft they were flying occurred more than three times a day on average last year, new figures show.

The Civil Aviation Authority announced that 1,439 such incidents were reported in 2015.

Now a flight safety specialist has warned that the issue with lasers "just isn't going away".

Heathrow airport experienced the most laser incidents in 2015 at 121, followed by Birmingham with 94 and Manchester with 93.

Stephen Landells, a flight safety specialist, expressed his disappointment with the figures.

"The problem with lasers just isn't going away despite all our efforts", he said.

"We continue to work with the CAA and the Department for Transport in trying to find ways to counter this menace".

A file photo of a laser that was pointed at a police aircraft earlier this year. Credit: ITV News/Police handout

Mr Landells added: "Even with the smallest laser, the dazzle and distraction that a pilot experiences at night is putting an aircraft and its passengers in danger".

He called for the police to be given the power to stop and search people they suspect may be carrying a laser for illegal use.

Mr Landells also wants more restrictions on the importation of high-powered lasers, and stressed the importance of making more people aware that pointing a laser at an aircraft is dangerous.