Liam Corcoran, the 11-year old boy had neither a passport, nor a ticket. Yet, this boy without even a boarding pass managed to fly 1000 mile (1,700-km) on a passenger plane from England to Italy.
The boy’s boundless excitement, however, alerted the passengers who alerted the cabin crew. “He was chatting about being off by himself,” said a spokesman for Manchester Airport.
The boy, known to have a history of catching free rides on buses and trains, was sent to Manchester on the return flight. The incident was a shocking breach of security for the airport, airline Jet2.com and the British government, days before the Olympics begins.
Meanwhile, several security staff at the airport have been suspended and the investigation into the serious security lapse is going on. Jet2.com has reportedly launched a full investigation into what it considers a “serious incident”.
The official UK statement on the security breach came from the UK Transport Secretary Justine Greening, who is stated to have remarked that the incident was “incredibly concerning,” and went on to add “I treat security breaches very, very seriously indeed, so we are now reviewing urgently with Manchester Airport, and indeed the airline, exactly what happened.”
Liam Corcoran, the 11-year old boy ran away from home. He made his way through a security screen as he mingled his way among the families going through Terminal 1 of Manchester Airport on the afternoon of July 24, 2012. He dashed straight to the nearest aircraft that was boarding LS791 of Jet2Flight to Rome. Surprisingly, he remained undetected even during a head-count on board the plane.
The European budget airline, Jet2.com belongs to Dart Group PLC. The airline founded in 1971 to fly flowers from Guernsey to the U.K mainland has expanded today to operate 188 routes to 53 destinations.
The Greater Manchester police do not think it was a crime serious enough to take a note of. The airport spokesman Russell Craig speaking to BBC said: “It's not technically a breach of security,” and added further, “The boy posed no threat to the aircraft. He went through a security process.”
According to Manchester Evening News, the boy didn’t seem to be fazed by the fuss he had caused, as reported by Sarah Swayne, a passenger on the return flight. “He just sat there chatting away about how he'd been trying to run away from home,” Swayne was quoted as saying.
Liam Corcoran is perhaps too young and innocent to be overwhelmed by the seriousness caused by his action, at a time when the Olympics is barely a day or two away with the highest priority of the host nation focused on security.