A group of raucous partiers who were filmed unmasked on a charter flight from Montréal to Cancun will likely pay thousands of dollars in fines in the coming weeks.
The now-infamous video shows several passengers onboard a Sunwing Airlines flight who are unmasked and unseated, dancing in the aisle of the medium-sized aircraft. Some of the travellers are vaping and most of them are not physically distancing. The passengers filmed themselves partying.
After they arrived at their destination, Sunwing Airlines stated that it would not fly the rule-breakers home. Air Transat and Air Canada also said they would refuse to carry the passengers, who were also called "idiots" by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
An investigation into the widely-publicized incident was launched on Jan. 4, 2022, to determine if the Aeronautics Act, regulations or requirements pertaining to aviation safety and security were contravened during that flight. Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra, as well as the health and public safety ministers, cited "unacceptable behaviour and cases of non-compliance with mask wearing and other air safety requirements."
On Tuesday (March 8), Alghabra announced that Transport Canada has issued a series of penalties to passengers who were not fully vaccinated when they boarded their flight. To date, six passengers have received penalties, which could reach a maximum of $5,000 each.
The investigation is ongoing, and it is expected that more penalties will be issued in the coming days and weeks.
"Ensuring the safety and security of passengers and crew on a flight is a top priority for Transport Canada. Civil aviation regulations and requirements must be respected, and anyone who does not comply is subject to serious penalties," states a news release from the ministry.
PARTY PLANE GROUNDED & STRANDED W/O A CREW— save DEMOCRACY (@VippusaO) March 8, 2022
A group of Quebec influencers and reality show stars could be facing thousands of dollars in fines, after videos surfaced showing them partying without masks on board a Sunwing flight from Montreal to Cancun. pic.twitter.com/5kFvF7BXu8 03
Non-compliance with COVID-19 or air safety regulations can result in passenger fines of up to $5,000 per offence.
Between April 12, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2021, authorities issued 2,342 fines against international travellers who arrived without a valid pre-entry test and 956 more for those who refused testing on arrival, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
With files from the Canadian Press.