While theoretically a laser could cause eye damage to the flight crew, the more serious threat is that pilots may be dazzled or distracted during the final moments before touchdown, the most hectic part of the flight.
It is not known if the Pope's plane was singled out, or if it was a random prank. In 2013 the FAA recorded 4000 laser incidents. Federal Law Enforcement takes it very seriously in the U.S. with a $10,000 reward and up to a 20-year prison sentence.
|Alitalia Airbus A330|