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Posted On: 18 January 2010 10:59 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Fireworks, laser shows near airport face curbs

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The Civil Aviation Authority has announced that laser shows and firework displays that can send strong flashes of light to the airport and its surrounding areas would now be strictly regulated. The decision follows a finding by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that laser displays and fireworks can inadvertently affect the eyesight of pilots. The Civil Aviation Authority shares ICAO’s fear that pilots might be flash-blinded by the displays, especially during take-off and landing. A public announcement by the Civil Aviation Authority here yesterday said the flash-blinding of pilots due to sudden exposure to bright lights during landing and take-off has been scientifically proved. The Authority said it had received a series of complaints expressing concern over laser shows and fireworks displays near the airport. Following this, the Authority amended (No. 21/2008) Law No.15/2002. Some provisions of the law ban laser shows and fireworks displays near the airport area. The violators can be imprisoned for a period of not less than two years and fined not more than QR100,000 or both. The Authority has asked the licence holders for laser shows and fireworks not to use strong lights when they are holding the shows far away from the airport areas without prior permission from the Authority. The Civil Aviation Authority, in its public announcement released yesterday, however, did not mention whether the Corniche, the traditional venue of fireworks and laser shows in Qatar, would come under the restricted area. Laser illumination of aircraft first emerged as an aviation safety issue in 1995, when several Las Vegas hotels started outdoor laser shows near the city’s airport. Reports say that in a year and half of keeping track, pilots counted 51 incidents of laser illumination of aircraft near Las Vegas and began to demand a ban on the laser shows. ILQ Comment: It would help if they tell us what a 'surrounding area' is.