Airline admits leaking stars’ info to paps

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iol travel june 8 virgin atlantic REUTERS She was on an 11-hour Virgin Atlantic flight from Gatwick to Las Vegas last week when she reportedly struck up a friendship with the man sitting in the next seat.

Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that an employee passed private details of celebrities' flight details to a paparazzi picture agency. The Information Commissioner is investigating.

The actors Daniel Radcliffe and Sienna Miller, the children of Madonna, and Princess Beatrice are among almost 70 figures whose flight information was leaked to London-based agency Big Pictures.

On Thursday the airline confirmed that the matter was now being investigated by the Information Commissioner's Office.

“Following the allegations in the press in April, we voluntarily contacted the Information Commissioner's Office and have fully assisted with their enquiries,” a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic said.

“Our internal investigation found no evidence that this was anything other than an isolated incident relating to a single member of staff who is no longer with the business. We continue to treat the security of customer information extremely seriously and apologise to the passengers affected.”

A relatively junior member of staff at the airline resigned in the wake of the accusation but is understood to deny the claims.

Other celebrities whose flight details may have been passed to Big Pictures include the Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole, his former wife, the singer Cheryl Cole, Tottenham footballer Jermain Defoe, actresses Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow, and singers Robbie Williams and Nicole Scherzinger.

When the allegations came to light, Virgin Atlantic launched an investigation into alleged leaks of flight details from 2010.

The commissioner's office said: “We are currently making enquiries to establish the precise nature of the alleged incident before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken.” - The Independent

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