An airline which advertised for extras to fly between Norwich and Dublin to boost passenger numbers may be penalised.
Exeter-based Flybe, which has a large operation at Birmingham Airport, hit on the idea when faced with losing £280,000 because it had not met a passenger target imposed by Norwich International Airport as part of a commercial deal.
But Norwich airport bosses said they may not pay the rebate even if Flybe met the target because of the airline's tactics.
Managing director Richard Jenner said managers would speak to their Flybe counterparts: "We will have to have discussions with them about whether or not some of the passengers are bona fide."
As well as advertising for "extras" on a website, Flybe also laid on additional last-minute flights, offered the public free trips and placed its own staff on stand-by to fly in case seats were not filled.
Flybe said it had decided against using actors after placing the advertisement. But one woman boarding a Flybe plane at Norwich today she was a "model" and had been paid to fly to Dublin and back.
"I am with a modelling agency. They called me over the weekend offering me a job, so I took it," said Suzanne Moore, 28. "We have got to get off the plane and then come straight back here."
Other passengers were also seen landing at Norwich then reboarding a Dublin-bound plane.
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth said Flybe's tactics were "madness" and doing pointless damage to the atmosphere.