Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned a maskless party aboard a flight from Montreal to Cancun, calling it a “slap in the face” to Canadians who have followed the rules since the start of the pandemic.
Trudeau said Wednesday he was “extremely frustrated” watching the now-deleted social media videos of Quebec influencers drinking, vaping, and partying on the Sunwing Airlines plane, and reiterated that there will be a full investigation into the event.
“We know how hard people have worked to keep themselves safe, to limit their family gatherings at Christmas time, to wear masks, to get vaccinated, to do all the right things. It’s a slap in the face to see people putting themselves, putting their fellow citizens, putting airline workers at risk by being completely irresponsible,” Trudeau said.
Sunwing Airlines cancelled their Jan. 5 return flight after the group wouldn’t accept the airline’s terms and conditions.
Since then, Air Canada and Air Transat have also denied them a flight home.
“With the information we currently have regarding the events that took place on the Sunwing flight, and to the extent that we can identify the passengers who were part of the group, Air Canada is denying boarding to ensure the safety of other passengers and its crew,” a statement from Air Canada reads.
Air Transat tweeted on Wednesday that the “disruptive” passengers’ attempts to book flights with the airline were dismissed.
“We confirm that they will be denied boarding based on our legal and regulatory obligations to ensure the safety of both our passengers and crew, which is our top priority,” the tweet reads.
Trudeau said Transport Canada is taking the situation “extremely seriously” and in a statement released Tuesday, government officials said the individuals involved would be held accountable.
“Transport Canada has been in contact with the airline concerning this flight. Should the department determine that non-compliance with Transport Canada regulations and requirements has occurred, fines of up to $5,000 per offence could be issued to passengers,” the statement said.
It also reminded Canadians that non-essential travel is not advised at this time.
Sunwing provided a statement to CTV News on Tuesday evening about the Dec. 30 private chartered flight, acknowledging that the behaviour was “unruly” and contravened various aviation regulations.
The airline has separately launched an investigation into the matter.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre is calling on the government to retrieve the millions of dollars in pandemic support that Sunwing has accessed through the course of the pandemic.
“It just seems that all the elites are able to get on planes and go to fancy places and enjoy wonderful vacations with no masks on, giving sloppy kisses to each other, pounding back bottle after bottle of high-priced champagne,” he said on Wednesday.
“It’s about time that we stand up to this hypocrisy and punish companies that facilitate it.”
Sunwing Vacations Inc. has drawn $185.9 million from the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility.
This content was originally published here.