Dublin Airport operator launches review after man boarded plane without a passport or boarding pass

DAA says an “internal review” has been launched into the incident

Stock image

Gabija Gataveckaite

A man made it through Dublin Airport and boarded an airplane without a passport or boarding pass in a major security breach on Monday night.

Abdul Ahmead (48) was fined €700 after boarding the Aer Lingus flight to Birmingham at Dublin Airport without a boarding pass or a passport.

He was charged with trespassing with intent to commit an offence and with failure to produce a valid passport or similar document as a non-national in the State.

He was fined €350 for each charge.

Ahmead was able to pass through security screening at Terminal 2 and pass airline staff at the gate and board the airplane despite not having a boarding pass or passport.

Boarding passes at Terminal 2 are checked manually by a staff member, as opposed to an automated system in Terminal 1.

Airport Police removed Ahmead from a seat he had taken on board the 7.05pm flight to Birmingham.

Ahmead, with an address at Stanton Street, Newcastle, UK, was arrested at Terminal 2.

And he appeared before the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin city centre yesterday morning.

The Dublin Airport operator today said it has launched an internal review into the incident.

Despite initially refusing to comment when queries about the incident were put to them on Monday, the DAA has now said there is an “internal review” in place.

A spokesperson for the airport also paid tribute to airport police for their quick response.

The DAA have said the man was screened at security when passing through Terminal 2.

“We never comment on security matters for obvious reasons.

"We note the speedy apprehension of the individual in this case by airport police, who was caught trespassing without a boarding card after being security screened, and his subsequent arrest by An Garda Siochana and successful prosecution before the courts.

“As with any such incident an internal review is underway.”

Aer Lingus released a fresh statement following the Irish Independent report, claiming Mr Ahmead “barged” past its staff at boarding gates.

“The individual in question barged past Aer Lingus boarding agents at the gate and crew at the door of the aircraft and took a seat on board,” said a spokesperson.

“Airport Police were immediately alerted by Aer Lingus staff and the individual was promptly detained and removed from the aircraft.”

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said the airline is “assisting An Garda Síochána in an investigation relating to a person detained by Airport Police at Dublin Airport”.

Meanwhile a garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí have arrested and charged a male in his 40s for trespassing offences at Dublin airport yesterday, Monday 27th March 2023.

“He was due to appear before the CCJ, Tuesday, March 28.”

The incident comes as DAA chiefs have been invited to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee next month following revelations by independent.ie that a whistleblower working at Dublin Airport has made a protected disclosure about security and screening at the airport.

The claims alleged that security screening at the airport is “not fit for purpose”.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has found “prima facie” evidence into the whistleblower’s claims of “vulnerabilities” at the airport which could lead to a possible terrorist attack.

TDs and senators from the Transport Committee called for the DAA to appear before it to answer questions around security standards at the airport, with Fianna Fáil senator Timmy Dooley describing the claims by the whistleblower as “deeply disturbing”.

The DAA is now set to appear before the committee on April 19 after the Dáil returns following its Easter recess.

The protected disclosure was handed to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan in the Dáil chamber last June.

It says the minister is allowing a “roll of the dice” each morning and hoping “that nothing happens”.

The whistleblower claims that a lapse in standards around staff training has led to “below par” security screening at the airport, where ­“vulnerabilities” could be “exploited”.

It says these may even lead to terrorist attacks on a par with Lockerbie – the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the UK.

The IAA has launched a formal investigation into the protected disclosure, as it has found “prima facie” evidence that “wrongdoing may have occurred”. ​