Quebec Sunwing Flight Organizer James William Awad Insists Partiers Won't Pay Their Fines

The Government of Canada has issued 24 fines in total.

Senior Editor
James William Awad smiling and holding his phone. Right: James William Awad making an announcement on the Sunwing plane's PA system.

James William Awad smiling and holding his phone. Right: James William Awad making an announcement on the Sunwing plane's PA system.

As of March 28, the Government of Canada has issued a total of 24 fines to passengers aboard the December 30 Quebec Sunwing flight to Cancun. The chartered flight made international headlines after videos from the cabin showed passengers, including local influencers and celebrities, partying maskless in their seats and the aisle.

But as Transport Canada continues its crackdown, James William Awad, the flamboyant and enigmatic flight organizer, says passengers have no plans to pay penalties. Instead, they aim to challenge them.

"These fines will not be paid. These are the kind of fines they give in dictatorial countries," he told Narcity Québec. "It's an abuse of power to hurt people who were going south to have fun after two years of the pandemic."

He also expressed frustration at the scope of Canada's mask and vaccination rules for air travel. So far, Transport Canada has said its fines target individuals who weren't fully vaccinated when they boarded the flight to Cancun or weren't wearing a mask aboard.

The two rules apply to all flights, including charter flights, leaving Canadian airports.

"Imagine renting an entire plane and being fined for wearing a mask and getting vaccinated, going somewhere where it's not required," Awad said to Narcity. "And also when the captain and employees themselves take off their masks. When everyone agrees to take it off in a private room."

He aired a similar complaint in a March 28 tweet taking aim at Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra.

Alghabra, meanwhile, promised even more fines are on the way.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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