Laser aimed at cockpit forces Tel Aviv-bound Virgin flight back to London

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Laser aimed at cockpit forces Tel Aviv-bound Virgin flight back to London

Airline is in contact with police and the Civil Aviation Authority over the incident. Passengers offered free overnight accommodation

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Screenshot from @ AirportWebcams on Twitter showing the Virgin flight turning around and heading back to Heathrow
Screenshot from @ AirportWebcams on Twitter showing the Virgin flight turning around and heading back to Heathrow

A laser aimed at the cockpit of a Virgin Atlantic flight travelling from London to Tel Aviv forced it to return to London.

The airline has contacted the police and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), as all passengers involved in Monday’s incident were offered free overnight accommodation.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told Jewish News: “On 15 March 2021 flight VS453, operating from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, returned to Heathrow after take-off due to a laser beam incident upon departure.”

The safety and security of our people and our customers is paramount and this was a precautionary step taken by the operating crew.”

“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused. All customers were offered overnight accommodation and we are working hard to ensure they are able to continue their journeys as soon as possible. As is standard procedure for a laser incident, we swiftly notified the police and remain in close contact with them and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).”

Virgin said VS453 departed at 21.30 and returned to Heathrow at 22.45, with lasers being directed at the cockpit.

According to the website Airport Webcams, the flight turned around south-west of Paris.

Virgin Atlantic announced its route between London and Tel Aviv in September 2019.

  • If you were on this flight, we want to hear from you. Email us at

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