Airlines could face hefty financial penalties by the Department of Transport if one of their airliners fails to identify itself to ground controllers causing the Royal Air Force to launch Typhoon interceptors. A report published in The Times states the fine could be as high as £100,000 in order to deter such activity which happens with alarming regularity.
In the last year, the RAF has had to launch Typhoon fighters at least twice a month to investigate so-called “silent” airliners. As well as being an expensive nuisance, the fact the RAF aircraft are heavily armed and that the MoD is constantly faced with having to address the potential for terrorism adds a dangerous element to the situation.
It’s not just airlines that are guilty of failing to adhere to proper flight regulations however. Private pilots have been just as problematic for air traffic controllers when it comes to adequately identifying themselves. Earlier this year two Typhoons raced at supersonic speeds across central England and Wales to intercept a private business jet which failed to respond to radio calls and appeared to be heading out over the Irish Sea without clearance.
The Department of Transport currently imposes a £5,000 fine for airlines and pilots guilty of such acts but this has failed to be an adequate deterrence hence the plans for such a dramatic increase.