The Sunwing flight organizer finally held a press conference. And he came out swinging.
James William Awad, the man behind the now-infamous 111 Private Club and that fateful Sunwing flight to Cancun, spoke directly to the media for the first time in a press conference on January 27. In addition to sharing some strong words for the three airlines that refused to bring the group of in-flight partiers back to Canada, Awad also finally addressed reports that group members tried to use Vaseline to fake PCR tests.
The government requires travellers to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of a flight departing for Canada.
Alleged leaked chats appeared to show travellers plotting to use the petroleum jelly product to mask possible COVID-19 infections. But in his press conference, Awad denied having knowledge of anyone going through with the plan.
"Basically it was a discussion that was on Discord," the messaging app, he said. "I think two people were discussing that. I'm not sure if it was a joke or anything, but no one actually took that seriously. I'm not aware of anybody in the group that used Vaseline."
The Quebec government quickly condemned the Vaseline trick when reports about its alleged use began circulating. The Ministry of Health (MSSS) also warned of potential health effects.
"Inhaling Vaseline in the hope that it will falsify a PCR test result is a zany, ineffective practice, and can potentially have harmful effects," MSSS spokesperson Marie-Claude Lacasse told Narcity Québec. "Don't do it."
He called the decision "dangerous" and said he was exploring the possibility of legal action.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.