Having a laser-pointer around the Regina International Airport will soon become an expensive thing to do.
Ottawa announced Thursday it is banning all laser-pointers over one milliwatt in power in a 10-kilometre radius surrounding airports and in the greater Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver areas.
The ban will allow officers to issue fines on the spot to anyone having the hand-held laser without a legitimate reason, such as educational purposes. The maximum fines will be $5,000 for individuals and $25,000 for corporations.
James Bogusz, CEO of the Regina International Airport, said this ban will help put an end to “laser strikes” — where a laser is pointed at a pilot while they are flying over a city or airport.
Bogusz said these types of incidents have been on the rise, which is why the ban is coming into effect.
“It is highly illegal and, of course, very dangerous if a pilot becomes blinded or has any issue being able to see where they’re going in an aircraft,” he said.
Bogusz added it’s always been illegal to shine a laser at an airplane under the aeronautics act but this gives authorities more ability to fine and charge people with an offence.
Last year, there were 379 reported incidents of laser strikes. So far this year, there have been 63 reported laser attacks across the country.
In Regina, there were three incidents last year and even as high as around a dozen back in 2014.
“Although it’s gone down a little bit, that number needs to be zero.”
He asked the public to contact police if they do see anyone points a laser into the sky.