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Ban powerful lasers: Air New Zealand

16:27 Fri Sep 21 2012
AAP
An Auckland teenager has avoided jail after admitting shining a green laser at aircraft landing at Auckland Airport (ThinkStock)
An Auckland teenager has avoided jail after admitting shining a green laser at aircraft landing at Auckland Airport (ThinkStock)

Air New Zealand wants a ban on the type of powerful hand-held laser which was used to blind pilots of large jets landing at Auckland International Airport.

Pravikash Chandra, 18, who shone a laser light at the flights landing at the airport in January was on Friday sentenced to four-and-a-half months' home detention.

He shone the laser at three domestic and international flights, carrying hundreds of passengers, and also at the police helicopter sent to investigate.

Despite the endangering transport charge carrying a maximum jail term of 14 years, Air NZ's safety chief David Morgan, in a statement, said it was not proving enough of a deterrent.

The number of incidents where lasers were being pointed at aircraft was on the rise, he said.

He called on the government to follow Australia and ban the "class 3 green-light" lasers.

The lasers could distract pilots, ruin their night vision and potentially cause eye damage, he said.

They were being shone at the critical phases of take off and landing, which made it very dangerous.

"Failure to act to ban these devices runs the real risk that a thoughtless and reckless individual could cause an air accident," Captain Morgan said.

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