An airline blunder has led to dozens of foreign nationals entering the country through Newcastle Airport without security or passport checks, Sky Tyne and Wear can exclusively reveal.
An investigation has been launched after the Eastern Europeans arrived on a Jet2.com flight from Prague, in the Czech Republic, and an airline worker wrongly directed them towards domestic arrivals.
This meant the passengers bypassed the international arrivals desk, where the UK Border Agency carries out stringent security checks.
After the mistake was realised, passengers who had not already left were taken back to the correct desk.
But dozens had already passed through the airport by this point.
An airport source claims those involved hoped it would go unnoticed, but the mistake caused outrage after details of the oversight emerged.
It is believed airport bosses demanded action from the airline after they heard about the incident, on May 27, 2012.
The worker responsible has since been suspended by the airline and Jet2.com confirmed an internal investigation has been launched.
A spokesperson for Jet2.com told Sky Tyne and Wear: "I can confirm that customers for the flight LS510 arriving into Newcastle from Prague on May 27 were initially routed through the domestic arrivals gate before the error was noticed.
"The customers concerned were quickly redirected through the international arrivals area but unfortunately a number of passengers passed by border control before the error was rectified.
"Jet2.com takes incidents like this very seriously and subsequently the member of staff has been suspended pending a full investigation and further training has been given to our staff at Newcastle."
A spokeswoman for Newcastle Airport said: "On this occasion, we have no comment."
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