Authorities in Italy have released a Pakistani man who was removed from a UK-bound EasyJet flight after it was discovered he was travelling on a fake passport.
The man, who is awaiting a decision on his request for political asylum in Italy, will be charged with possession of false papers but police do not believe he was linked to any terror plot, as initially feared.
“We have now confirmed with the authorities that this incident does not relate to any attempted terrorism,” an EasyJet spokesperson told AFP.
“It was just one of the many attempts that are made to get into the UK with false passports.”
The flight from Rome to Luton airport was within minutes of its scheduled take-off on Sunday when Italian border agents boarded the plane and removed the man.
The officers were acting on advice from the UK border agency, which spotted discrepencies between the passport details the 33-year-old passenger had entered in his online booking and information they held in their database.
Earlier, Italian authorities said they were checking the background of a Pakistani man removed from the flight after he was found to be travelling on a suspect passport.
After all bags were removed from the hold and rechecked, the plane took off later in the afternoon.
EasyJet said five passengers unconnected with the suspect opted not to fly in the immediate aftermath of the incident and were switched to later flights.
The scare occurred on the same day that Italian officials announced that a Pakistani was among nine foreigners expelled from Italy since December because of suspicions they could be involved in militant attacks.
The other eight expelled were five Tunisians, an Egyptian, a Moroccan and a Turk.