Airlines issued guidelines on intercepting Syria-bound minors

Airlines issued guidelines on intercepting Syria-bound minors

The government has issued guidelines to airlines on young people travelling unaccompanied to Turkey and on other “key routes”.

The guidance follows calls from Prime Minister David Cameron, in March, in the House of Commons, for “new proportionate arrangements with airlines to ensure that children who are at risk are properly identified and questioned”.

The request came after a number of young British people travelled to – or are suspected to have travelled to – ISIS-controlled parts of Syria earlier this year. 

The Transport Secretary and Home Secretary worked with airlines to draw up the guidance.

A spokesman for the Home Office said airlines are being asked to “help identify and flag” unaccompanied minors travelling outbound on “certain key routes”, who may potentially be at risk.

Travel Weekly witnessed a member of staff stop a group of four teenage girls as they went through the gate for a flight from Gatwick to Antalya in Turkey at the end of last month. After a few minutes they were allowed to proceed.

Abta advises travel agents to liaise with airlines in relation to bookings for children and said they should contact the police if they have concerns about any bookings.

A spokesman said: “Generally, children over the age of twelve will be allowed to travel unaccompanied.

“Many tour operators have a policy that they will not accept a booking where the party leader is under 18 simply because you cannot enforce a contract against a minor.

“If members have any concerns about individual bookings they should contact their local police authority. Abta and our members will always cooperate with any requests from the security authorities both here and overseas.”

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