A laser pointed at an Air New Zealand flight into Blenheim last month is one of a group of incidents that have led the airline to call for a ban on powerful hand-held laser devices.
The airline made the plea after Auckland man Pravikash Chandra, 18, was sentenced to 18 months' home detention for an incident in January when he shone a laser at three flights into Auckland airport.
Air New Zealand's general manager airline operations David Morgan said the incident was one of a series since 2008. This included one in Blenheim on August 29 when the pilot of a Beech 1900D flying from Wellington to Blenheim with 19 passengers aboard was struck in the eye by a green laser beam.
The maximum penalty for endangering transport was 14 years in jail, but Mr Morgan said the incidents showed New Zealand should go one step further and follow Australia's lead in banning the lasers completely.
"Failure to act to ban these devices runs the real risk that a thoughtless and reckless individual could cause an air accident."
Blenheim police were unable to find the person who shone the laser beam, which most likely came from the central Blenheim area around Whitney St and Maxwell Rd.
- The Marlborough Express