Jet2 is investigating how an 11-year-old could clear five checkpoints without a passport or plane ticket to board a Manchester flight to Italy. UK newspapers dubbed him the ‘Rome Alone’ boy.
A Manchester Airport spokesman said Liam tailgated a family at the airport, slipped through the gate with other children then boarded the Jet2 flight without staff asking to see his passport or a boarding pass. Airport officials and Jet2 are investigating what they said to be an “extremely serious matter”as Britain prepares welcome millions of visitors to the Olympic Games beginning 27 July.
“It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate,” a Manchester Airport spokesman said. “It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate,” a Manchester Airport spokesman said.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening also announced several high-level investigations today saying she “takes any breach of security, very, very seriously.”
Passengers alerted Jet2 staff when the boy said he was running away and appeared to be traveling alone. The plane’s captain informed the authorities and Liam remained on board after landing at Rome Fiumicino Airport.
He returned to Manchester after his 1,500-mile Roman holiday and was met by his mother at around 9pm last night, the newspaper said. Airline staff are believed to have carried out a head count but did not notice the boy.
Multi-millionaire Philip Meeson, 64, chairman of Yorkshire-based low budget Jet2, is a former RAF pilot and no stranger to controvery. In 2006 he made headlines when he blasted striking French airline traffic controllers as “lazy frogs” on Jet2’s corporate website.
In 2009, Mr Meeson was warned by police under the Public Order Act after he launched into a profanity-laced tirade against his Manchester check-in staff for not processing passengers quickly enough.
Mr Meeson hung up on Channel 4 News today after saying he was too busy to talk.
Five Jet2 staff have reportedly been suspended while the investigation takes place.
Jet2 is owned by Dart Group Plc. They are better known throughout the UK as Royal Mail’s airline. The company has 42 aircraft and has flown night mail for Royal Mail since 1980, helping ensure First Class mail achieves next day delivery throughout the UK. It operates mainly out of northern UK cities and its consumer routes focus on holiday destinations including several Mediterranean resorts.
Mr Meeson is the largest shareholder. Other investors include London-based Schroder Investment Management and JO Hambro Capital Management. Jet2 had revenue of £683m in the last tax year and pre-tax profit of £25.2m, according to the company’s most recent unaudited accounts filed with regulators.