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ALPA Targets Safety Threat from Laser Attacks on Aircraft

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The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) joined regulatory, federal, state, and local law enforcement representatives at a Trenton, New Jersey, news conference today to underscore the safety threat posed by laser attacks on aircraft and highlight the public’s need to be aware of the danger and the legal consequences of deliberately or unintentionally shining a laser at an aircraft.

“Attacking an aircraft with a laser can create a major distraction in the cockpit, injure the pilots operating the flight, and put both passengers aboard and the public on the ground below at risk,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, regarding the news conference. “Today’s event is just one example of the enhanced cooperation among the Federal Aviation Administration, federal, state, and local law enforcement, and airline pilots to combat this dangerous aviation security threat.”

In January 2010, ALPA released a regulatory, legislative, and public awareness action plan to safeguard the skies from laser attacks. In, February 2012, President Obama signed into law language that expressly made shining a laser at an aircraft or its flight path a federal crime, which is a key component of ALPA’s action plan. In 2011, ALPA, in partnership with Airlines for America, held an international conference titled “Laser Illumination of Aircraft: A Growing Threat,” to help raise awareness among key government and industry decision makers.

“The public needs to know that individuals who shine lasers at aircraft are jeopardizing the safety of air transportation and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law,” said Capt. Robert Hamilton, who currently chairs ALPA’s Security Council and who has been lased while flying an aircraft. “Intentional or not, these laser strikes are no joke and have serious consequences.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 52,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.

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