EU Experts See Laser Incidents Rising Fast

At a seminar on laser interference with aviation that was organized by EUROCONTROL, participants said both pilots and air traffic controllers need training on in-flight and post-flight procedures.

EUROCONTROL, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, hosted an Oct. 10-11 seminar to discuss the growing problem of laser interference with both pilots and air traffic controllers. About 160 experts representing law enforcement, airlines, and research institutions participated; the seminar was organized by EUROCONTROL with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the European Commission, the European Cockpit Association, IATA, and the Association of European Airlines.

The participants agreed tougher legal penalties are needed for those who use lasers in this manner, and they also called on the European Union to strictly regulate the production, distribution, purchase, possession, and use of lasers.

Participants said both pilots and air traffic controllers need training on in-flight and post-flight procedures for laser interference incidents.

According to EUROCONTROL, there were only 30 interference incidents in the United Kingdom in 2007, but about 1,600 have been recorded there this year prior to September 2011. EUROCONTROL's voluntary incident reporting system had eight reports in 2008 and 500 reports in 2010. The FAA received 1,049 reports in 2010 and has seen that number surpass 1,500 this year.

EUROCONTROL's announcement said a report to be released next month will say that the European Civil Aviation Conference states reported 1,048 incidents in 2090 and 4,266 in 2010.

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