Safety fears as laser pen targeted Heathrow flight
FRESH concerns for those on board flights have been raised after another plane was targeted with a laser pen while making it’s final approach to Heathrow Airport.
The British Airways BA759 flight from Bergen in Norway was aimed at on Monday at 9.20pm.
Once again, the safety for passengers and cabin crew has been scrutinised after laser pens were identified as potentially having fatal consequences by obscuring the view of pilots.
Dr Steve Schallhorn, who is chief medical director at Optical Express and a former US Navy pilot, said there needed to be more education about the irreversible eye injuries that can be caused by laser pens.
A spokesperson for British Airways said: “The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority.
“Our pilots report any incidents so that the authorities can investigate and take appropriate action.
“We take such matters very seriously.”
Laser attacks on flights at Heathrow are on the rise, with the latest stats from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data showing incidents more than doubled since the previous three-month period.
Heathrow Airport suffered 14 attacks between April and June 2015, which rose to 35 in the year’s third quarter, from July to September - the most recent figures available.
The latest spate of incidents saw Heathrow experience two attacks within 10 days in February.
A Virgin Atlantic flight heading for New York had to double back on itself as a “precautionary measure” due to the copilot feeling unwell, after a laser attack on February 14.
Eight days later, another laser was shone at a British Airways flight on February 22 evening, but it did not endanger the aircraft, with the plane landing succesfully.
CAA’s latest report also showed that Heathrow Airport suffered more laser attacks than any other UK airport, up to September 2015.
A Heathrow Airport spokesperson has previously said the airport “have a very robust security regime in place” and “are always responsive and vigilant when it comes to new threats.”
They added: “As part of that regime, we don’t comment on the specific measures we have in place, but will continue to work with partners to ensure that UK airspace remains safe.”