Anyone using laser beams to blind pilots would face prosecution by the authorities, warns the Civial Aviation Authority. Stock picture: Reuters

Durban - The South African Civil Aviation Authority has warned that anyone using laser beams to blind pilots would face prosecution by the authorities.

The authority said in a statement on Tuesday that “a safety hazard which is increasingly becoming a nuisance to our pilots is the use of laser beams to blind pilots on approach at airports in areas such as Lanseria and Durban”.

“The continued use of laser beams on pilots can have devastating consequences for the industry, and anyone found to be engaging in this activity will face prosecution by the authorities,” said the authority’s acting director of civil aviation, Poppy Khoza.

The authority urged all industry players, especially those engaging in flying, to exercise caution by adhering to all civil aviation regulations, especially during the festive season.

“The festive season is generally a very busy period for flying, and therefore I would like to urge the flying community to practise caution and adhere to safety standards during this period,” said Khoza.

“In times like these, we are all encouraged to go back to basics and do proper planning before flying,” she said.

Passengers were also encouraged to abide by the aviation security regulations by adopting safe flying habits by observing the required weight for their luggage and hand luggage taken into the cabins.

According to Khoza, this year has been a safer year in terms of fatalities resulting from aircraft accidents in the civil aviation space.

Khoza said that, generally, flying was known to be the safest mode of transport, “and we encourage our industry to uphold this record as we work towards protecting the lives of our passengers”.

She said the objective of reducing aircraft accidents by half by 2014 remained a target for the rest of the South African civil aviation industry.

“However, this target can only be achieved if the industry adheres to the required safety and security standards as prescribed,” she said. - The Mercury