November 23, 2022

Organizer of controversial charter flight says he wanted to hold ‘private and safe event’

“Many fellow citizens are upset by the current situation,” he wrote.

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The organizer of a Dec. 30 charter flight to Cancun from Montreal, which has drawn international attention and outrage due to the unruly behavior of its passengers, said Thursday that his priority was to arrange “a private and safe event in Cancun”.

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In a post on his personal blog on Thursday, James William Awad of private club 111 said that while he understood “many fellow citizens are upset by the current situation”, he was “committed to hosting a private and safe event in Cancun with my group”.

Awad’s statement comes a day after Air Canada and Air Transat joined Sunwing Airlines – which had flown the group to Cancun – in publicly announcing that they would not provide transport for those involved in the charter back to Montreal. . The announcements came the same day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the passengers “idiots.”

The controversy began after videos of the flight shared on social media showed passengers not wearing masks as they gathered nearby and sang and danced in the aisle and on the seats. In one video, a large bottle of vodka appears to pass among passengers, and later a woman appears to be smoking an e-cigarette.

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Rena Kisfalvi, president of the local union of the Canadian Union of Public Employees representing about 1,000 Sunwing flight attendants, said that even though the situation had escalated, her colleagues told her that the passengers had never been ” insistent”.

“It was not a catastrophic event,” she said in a phone interview. “Were they in violation of vaping? Yes. Were they disrespectful on the masks? Yes. Were they in violation of alcohol consumption? Yes.

“But when you’re in the air and you’re halfway to where you need to be, a lot of factors come into play to get that plane (back home) or land immediately,” he said. she declared.

“I think it was a decision they made as a crew.”

In Thursday’s blog post, Awad does not mention the video or allude to the conduct depicted in it, saying only that ” I chartered a private plane and private transportation to keep everyone safe. We also took extra measures by having everyone tested before leaving Montreal to ensure that the whole group was safe and therefore even if the Mexican authority does not require a negative PCR test to enter.

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I chartered the whole flight for us and only us.

Awad said that when he spoke with Sunwing Airlines on Tuesday to arrange a return flight for the group, he accepted all the security requirements made to him by the airline, but added that the agreement had failed after Sunwing failed to rescind the requirement that no in-flight meal be served during the five-hour trip.

“They canceled our flight based on assumptions and so other companies followed suit.”

Awad said his group was “working tirelessly to get everyone home safely as quickly as possible”.

The Canadian Press interviewed a member of the group stranded in Mexico who said he tested positive for COVID-19 and estimated that up to 30 other members of the group had also been infected.

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Canadian Press contributed to this report.

  1. Nothing

    Canada asks regulator to probe no-mask party on airline as COVID cases soar

  2. An investigation was triggered when media reported that passengers were behaving inappropriately on a Sunwing Airlines flight from Montreal to Cancun, Mexico.

    3 airlines won’t fly ‘dumb’ Quebecers who partied en route to Cancun

  3. An investigation was triggered when media reports surfaced of passengers behaving inappropriately on a Sunwing Airlines flight.

    Federal Transport Minister Calls for Investigation into Sunwing Party Flight to Mexico

  4. According to Transport Canada, passengers who violate the regulations could be subject to fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

    Trudeau says Sunwing’s party flight to Mexico is ‘a slap in the face’

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