The British company’s 787-9 registered G-VDIA had just taken off on March 15, 2021 at 9:30 p.m. from its base in London-Heathrow bound for Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion airport when the aircraft’s cockpit was » illuminated ”by a laser. The crew decided to continue their journey, but while flight VS-453 was over France at a latitude of 41,000 feet, the captain complained that he could only see one eye. . The crew decided to turn back and landed in London approximately 75 minutes after takeoff.
The incident was immediately reported to the civil aviation authority and police, who Israeli media say arrested the perpetrator.
The passengers were accommodated free of charge, and were able to take off again on Tuesday aboard replacement flight VS-453A, aboard another 7879 (G-VAHH); they arrived in Israel 12:30 hours late.
“The safety and security of our employees and customers is paramount and this was a precautionary measure taken by the operations team. We thank our customers for their patience and apologize for any inconvenience caused, ”a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told The Independent.
This kind of incident has multiplied in recent years; in 2020, the FAA recorded 6,852 in the United States, an increase of 11% from the previous year.