An 11-year-old boy has managed to sneak on board a flight to Rome from Manchester Airport without a passport or boarding pass.
Liam Corcoran passed through security on his own without being checked, before making his way on to the Jet2.com flight on Tuesday, after he ran away from his mother during a shopping trip at Wythenshawe Civic Centre and made his own way to the airport.
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: "This extremely serious matter is now being urgently investigated by officials from the airport and airline.
"It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate.
"The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers and the aircraft was never compromised.
"We are now making preparations to ensure that his return to the UK is handled sensitively to avoid any distress."
The youngster passed through a gate where he was not required to show a passport or boarding pass, and made it on to Jet2.com flight LS791 to the Italian capital without being asked for a boarding pass stub by cabin crew.
A Manchester Airport spokesman said that once passengers became aware that the boy was on his own, airline staff were alerted and the plane's captain informed the authorities.
He said the boy remained on board after landing at Rome Fiumicino Airport, and returned to Manchester on the same plane, where he was met by his mother at around 9pm last night.
A number of staff from Manchester Airport and Jet2.com have been suspended while the investigation takes place.
Speaking on BBC News 24 today, Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: "This is an unusual and serious breach and we are keen to find out what has gone on."