Laser pen attacks on aircraft: Airport official urges public to help catch culprits

Laser pen attacks on aircraft are putting the lives of hundreds of passengers and crew at risk, Belfast International Airport has warned.
Laser pen attacks on aircraft are putting the lives of hundreds of passengers and crew at risk, Belfast International Airport has warned.
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Members of the public have been urged to help police catch those responsible for a recent spate of laser pen attacks on passenger aircraft, which have put hundreds of lives at risk.

Six such attacks have been reported between May 2 and 13 – most of them emanating from the Newtownabbey area.

According to a spokesman for Belfast International Airport, the latest incident occurred in the Jordanstown area on Monday at around 11pm. Other incidents have been reported in Glengormley, Cloughfern, Jordanstown and around the north shore of Belfast Lough.

Belfast International Airport operations director, Alan Whiteside, warned that laser pens can cause temporary blindness if they are directed at crews in aircraft cockpits.

Appealing to the public to report incidents to the PSNI and assist in bringing the culprits to justice, he said: “These actions are irresponsible and potentially life threatening. Aircraft crew are responsible for the lives of every passenger on board and any disruption to cockpit operations is simply unacceptable.

“Those who point laser pens at aircraft need to be apprehended and processed through the courts. Their actions are irresponsible and a potential threat to life.

“The full weight of the law needs to be brought to bear to get this reckless behaviour stamped out. The people who are guilty of these actions have to be made aware that they are committing a serious offence. I would ask members of the public to report any suspicious activity without delay.

“Airlines share our concern and want to see an end to this activity which is not some innocent game but a determined effort to cause injury and disruption.”