Release #: 17.11
February 23, 2017

ALPA Canada Honours National Aviation Day with Renewed Call for Laser Safety

From left: Mario Harel, Gatineau Police Chief and President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police; Captain Dan Adamus, Air Line Pilots Association; Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport; The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

Listen to an interview with Capt. Adamus on the dangers of laser strikes

Ottawa, Ont.—The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) today joined Canada’s Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, and law enforcement officials to highlight the serious dangers associated with shining a laser at an aircraft. At a press conference honouring National Aviation Day, key aviation safety stakeholders urged Canadians to reach out to law enforcement if they witness someone pointing a laser at an aircraft.

“Shining a laser at an aircraft could pose significant safety risks for both pilots and passengers,” said Capt. Dan Adamus, ALPA Canada president. “ALPA has been working for years with Canadian government and industry stakeholders in order to raise awareness on this serious issue. We strongly support combined efforts that focus on education, reporting, law enforcement, and technology in order to protect air transportation.”

ALPA has partnered with industry in Canada and the United States to help educate the public and garner support to mitigate the threat posed by handheld lasers to civil aviation. In addition to highlighting the health and flight-safety risks, ALPA also emphasized the consequences of pointing a laser at an airplane. Just as in the United States, shining a laser at an aircraft is a criminal act, and offenders in Canada can face $100,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, or both.

“Since aiming a handheld laser beam directly on a moving aircraft is difficult, pilot exposure usually involves sporadic, brief flashes. These flashes inside the flight deck frequently produce a ‘startle response’ that can lead to distraction and disruption of attention to aircraft control. In some cases, they have led to temporary disorientation or flash blindness. Needless to say, the risk associated with laser illuminations is unacceptable,” said Adamus.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 55,000 pilots at 32 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the flightcrew members who fly for Air Georgian, Air Transat, Bearskin, Calm Air, Canadian North, First Air, Jazz Aviation, Kelowna Flightcraft, and Wasaya. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA. 


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