A group of raucous partiers who were filmed unmasked on a charter flight from Montréal to Cancun have been issued six additional fines this week.
The now-infamous video shows several passengers unmasked and unseated onboard a Sunwing Airlines flight, 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.
On March 8, Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra announced that Transport Canada has issued a series of penalties to passengers who were not fully vaccinated when they boarded their flight. At that time, six passengers received penalties, which could reach a maximum of $5,000 each.
And on Monday (March 21), Transport Canada issued six new penalties as part of the department's investigation, bringing the total number of penalties to 12.
Transport Canada spokesperson Frédérica Dupuis told Vancouver Is Awesome in an email that fines for these contraventions vary from case to case but may cost as much as $5,000.
The department is unable to release additional details about specific individuals, amounts, or copies of the penalties issued due to privacy considerations.
"Transport Canada’s investigation is ongoing. It is expected that more penalties will be issued in connection with this flight in the coming days and weeks, depending on the results of the ongoing investigation," said Dupuis.
Alghabra took to social media to announce the new penalties and to underscore that "there are consequences for those who break the rules" and more penalties are expected.
There are consequences for those who break the rules! We have issued a new series of 6 penalties, up to $5,000, to travellers on the Dec 30 flight to Cancun. 5 penalties for non-compliance w/ vaccination rules & 1 penalty for not wearing a mask. 12 penalties so far. More to come!— Omar Alghabra (@OmarAlghabra) March 21, 2022
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 to determine if the Aeronautics Act, regulations or requirements pertaining to aviation safety and security were contravened during that flight. 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."
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
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.