Sunday, 29 October 2017, the airport’s management centre was alerted by the police at 2.52 pm of the presence of a runaway 7-year-old girl on the airport’s site.
The girl passed the security check in France Sector between 1.47 pm and 1.48 pm and was intercepted at 2.20 pm in a plane she shouldn’t have access to. She was handed over to the police then to her parents.
Her journey is detailed as follows.
The journey of this little girl begins in Cornavin SBB station, where no check is performed when boarding a train.
The entrance in the public area of the airport is not checked either, which explains why the child was able to arrive there.
The entrance in the French Sector may involve police and/or customs checks, which are not systematic.
An access check is implemented to the secured area with restricted access, by means of a dedicated company (the check of the travel ticket must be “reasonable” according to the National Aviation Security Plan – NASP). The surveillance images show that the girl, in the excitement of weekend agglomeration, was not checked.
Nevertheless, she underwent the security checks, by going below the electronic gates: it is thus important to state that the security rules of Genève Aéroport were not breached.
The boarding procedures are the responsibility of the ground support company, while the responsibility for the passengers on board rests with the airline. These two major actors of the airport chain apply such rules in close collaboration with Genève Aéroport, the who is the infrastructure owner, with the architectural constrains of Genève Aéroport.
In every initial step of the journey the girl, because of her young age (7), reportedly convinced the staff that she was with the adults in front or behind her.
However, during the boarding procedure she took advantage of her small height and used tricks to sneak through the crowds by routes that allowed her to join passengers that had already underwent the checks.
The first time she was rejected while trying to follow a flight crew and escaped by mingling in the crowd, pretending to join her parents.
The second time she managed to bypass the open route by sneaking in a passage that was only accessible to a child of her height.
She was then noticed by an agent and stopped by another, when she had managed to go on board, before being handed over to the police.
This unprecedented event triggered the immediate convocation of the representatives of all the components of the airport community, which have already implemented actions to prevent such an event from occurring again.
We must indeed agree that the current system is efficient for adults and accompanied children, but that it should consider the gaps where a young child can slide, as this regrettable incident shows.
Technical solutions are ongoing to better separate these routes and block accesses reachable by a child.
The Management of Genève Aéroport is pleased that the child was intercepted, thanks all actors that got involved and collaborates with them to find an expedient procedure to ensure better sealing of the various spaces and routes following the security checks.
Head of Institutional Communication