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CAAP warns public against pointing lasers at aircraft

Aviation Updates Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has warned the public against pointing lasers at aircraft, areas proximate to airports and flight paths.

Photo by Nek Aberia

In a public advisory issued on April 4, 2023, the CAAP said that such actions pose a significant risk to aviation safety and can potentially cause a catastrophic accident.

"According to the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR) Part 'No person shall intentionally project a laser beam or direct by a high intensity light at an aircraft which can result in distraction, disruption, disorientation and, in extreme cases, incapacitation, adversely affect the ability of the flight crew to carry out their responsibilities, especially during take-off and landing,'" the civil aviation agency said.

Under the provisions of Section 81 (b) (6) of RA 9497 (The Civil Aviation Act of 2008), anyone caught doing so could face severe penalties, including imprisonment for not more than three (3) years or a fine not less than Php 50,000.00 but not exceeding Php 500,000.00 or both as determined by the court.

The CAAP said that it is "considering the critical threats to aviation safety" and is therefore directing the public to refrain from pointing any laser/beam light on aircraft, areas proximate to airports and flight paths to avoid any untoward incident, leading to hazardous situations thereby endangering lives of people.

Laser strikes on aircraft are a serious safety hazard and can have devastating consequences. Especially at critical stages of the flights during take-off and landing, lasers pointed at aircraft flying at low-altitude may blind or disorient pilots. This can lead to loss of control of the aircraft and endanger passengers.

"Let us all work together to ensure the safety of our skies and the passengers and crew on board every flight," the CAAP said.

The advisory was issued after a recent incident that was recorded by a passenger aboard an arriving flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

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