- • AERIS calls on the public to avoid this practice, which can put flights at risk.
- • Incidents with lights of this type last between 22 minutes and 2 minutes, and occur mainly at night.
May, 2022. Reports of laser light interference to aircraft approaching Juan Santamaría International Airport (AIJS) increased 38% in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2021.
On average, between January and April 2022, 11 incidents with this type of lights were recorded, or 2.75 each month. While in the first four months of last year, a total of last year, a total of 8 incidents were reported, i.e. 2 per month. In the first four months of the year alone, 85% of the incidents recorded in the whole of 2021 are reported.
Faced with the increase of these actions that put at risk the operational safety of flights, AERIS, interested manager of the Juan Santamaria International Airport (AIJS), joins the efforts of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and calls on the population to avoid pointing laser lights at pilots, as they can generate distraction, reduced visibility, discomfort, glare and even dizziness in very critical cases.
“As part of the efforts made by AERIS to ensure the operational safety of AIJS, we have identified the opportunity to inform the population about the importance of not pointing laser lights at aircraft in flight, as they affect pilots at times when they require maximum concentration such as landing. Undoubtedly, this is a dangerous practice that compromises air traffic,” said Juan Belliard, AIJS Director of Operations and Safety.
The takeoff and landing of an airplane are the most critical moments of the flight, so they require the full attention of pilots.
Between 2016 and 2022, 106 reports have been generated, by pilots, due to the incorrect use of laser lights aimed at aircraft, mainly at night. Likewise, in total, 22 air operators, national and foreign, have claimed to have suffered some kind of affectation due to this practice.
The attacks with laser lights on pilots have lasted from two to 22 minutes and have been carried out mainly on the sides and front of the aircraft.
Persons who incur in this action are exposed to sanctions established in the General Civil Aviation Law, which establishes a fine of 20 minimum wages, according to the seriousness of the act.
“The General Directorate of Civil Aviation, in conjunction with the stakeholders of our aviation industry, considers important that the citizenship knows the danger of pointing laser light at pilots during any phase of flight. Among the possible consequences of these actions may be air accidents, with a large number of fatalities. In view of this, we call on the population to avoid these practices, thus supporting the operational safety of Costa Rican aviation,” said Marco Lopez, head of the State Operational Safety Program of the DGAC.
In addition, the Costa Rican Aeronautical Regulation RAC 19 qualifies danger as “Condition or object that entails the possibility of causing or contributing to an aviation incident or accident”, while the Joint Civil Aviation Rules MRAC17 refers to unlawful interference as “acts or attempts intended to compromise the safety of civil aviation”.
Finally, the Costa Rican Aeronautical Regulations RAC02 in section 02.11 establishes the Prohibition of Acts of Unlawful Interference against Crew members.
“No person may assault, threaten, intimidate or interfere in the performance of the duties of a crew member, during the time the aircraft is operated.”
About AERIS Costa Rica
AERIS HOLDING COSTA RICA, a company of the CCR Group of Brazil, is the Interested Manager in charge of providing services at the Juan Santamaría International Airport and is responsible for the operation, maintenance, rehabilitation, construction, financing and promotion of Costa Rica’s main air terminal.
AERIS draws on the experience of its parent companies: HAS Development Corporation and Grupo CCR of Brazil, the latter as the main shareholder and with participation in the international airports of Quito Ecuador, Curacao and Belo Horizonte in Brazil. The Manager seeks to exceed the standards of its contract (CGI), contribute to the growth of the country, through the efficient operation of the service, in a leading and safe airport in Latin America.
Currently, the SJO connects Costa Rica with 35 destinations around the world; 21 international commercial airlines and four domestic airlines operate at its facilities.