Video footage purportedly showing a planeload of passengers marching past unstaffed immigration checkpoints at Manchester Airport has triggered a major investigation. Both the Home Office and management at the airport say they are probing claims that passengers arriving on a Ryanair flight waltzed through without showing their passports or undergoing any other checks.
Ryanair Flight FR3186 from Madrid was due to arrive in Manchester at 23:35 on Friday evening. The flight was late and did not land until 02:05 on Saturday.
A Manchester Airport representative stated that it was the duty of the carrier’s onsite handling agents to keep UK Border Force officers updated about the arrival details of flights originating outside the UK. Commenting on the incident, a Ryanair spokesperson says the fault seems to have been a glitch in Manchester Airport’s computer system.
The Ryanair rep added that the system had relayed incorrect flight details. She finished off by saying the airline had asked the relevant officials at the airport to tighten up their procedures so that it would not happen again.
Clinton Lakin is a teacher from Stoke-on-Trent and he was one of passengers who flew in on Flight FR3186. He took videos of people walking past the empty immigration booths at Manchester.
Mr Lakin noted that UK taxpayers are told their money helps protect the country’s borders, but 130 people had just walked in because the airport was closed and unstaffed. He further explained that the first sign of any people working at the airport was staff at the Costa Coffee outlet in the Arrivals hall of Terminal 3.
Mr Lakin finished off with the warning that people travelling from Africa via Madrid to the UK could have brought the Ebola virus with them. The lack of arrival checks meant airport authorities would have been none the wiser.