Canada asks regulator to probe maskless party on Sunwing flight as COVID cases soar
Adds comment from Sunwing Airlines in paragraphs 4-6 MONTREAL, Jan 4 (Reuters) – Canada’s minister of transport on Tuesday called for an investigation into reports of maskless revelers on a recent Sunwing Airlines flight to Cancun, as the country battles soaring cases of COVID-19. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said on Twitter he had asked regulator Transport Canada to investigate media reports of passengers snapping selfies, drinking alcohol and congregating close together on the Dec.
30 flight from Montreal. “I am aware of the reports of unacceptable behavior on a Sunwing flight,” Alghabra said. The Toronto-headquartered leisure operator said by email that the behavior of a group of passengers on the private charter flight “was unruly and contravened several Canadian aviation regulations as well as public health regulations.”
Sunwing said it has canceled the group’s return flight to Montreal scheduled for Jan.
5 as a result of the carrier’s investigation and due to a refusal by the group to accept all terms of carriage. Sunwing said the flight to Cancun triggered an investigation by its security department and an initial notification to Transport Canada. The Canadian regulator was not immediately available for comment.
“This is unacceptable behavior from passengers that puts our cabin crew at enormous risk,” said Rena Kisfalvi, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local which represents Sunwing flight attendants. “We need the airlines and the federal government to support and protect our members against this kind of mob behavior and make sure it never happens again.” Canada’s most populous provinces have closed in-school learning until Jan.
17, with hard-hit Quebec shuttering restaurant dining rooms and enacting a curfew from 10 pm to 5 am to curb the spread of the coronavirus and rising hospitalizations.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Mark Potter and Himani Sarkar)
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