An “unruly passenger” was kicked off a flight headed to London, England, from Calgary on Wednesday night.
According to Calgary police, the passenger assaulted a member of the flight crew. About an hour into the 8.5-hour flight, the crew made the decision to return to Calgary International Airport.
The WestJet flight departed just before 8 p.m., bound for London’s Gatwick Airport and was due to arrive at around noon local time.
A statement from WestJet said their crews are trained to manage “a multitude of escalating situations,” but takes a zero-tolerance approach to any interference that threatens the safety and security of passengers, crew and operations.
The airline said the incident started with mask non-compliance. According to federal regulations, air passengers must wear a mask while flying.
“Upon returning to Calgary, a man in his 50s, was arrested and removed from the plane,” CPS said in a statement.
Mamoudou Barry, 52, was charged with mischief over $5,000, “common nuisance endangering life,” assault and failing to comply with crew member’s instruction – a part of federal aviation regulations.
“Our cabin crew members show up daily to ensure the safety of our guests and operations,” WestJet COO Diederik Pen said in a statement. “Over the last two years, they have been at the forefront of the pandemic, navigating an extremely complex operating environment and required to enforce restrictions, such as mask compliance. As Canadians return to travel, we will never compromise on making the right decisions in support of the safety and well-being of our crews and guests.”
WestJet said it appreciated the patience and understanding of the remaining passengers for the disruption to the trip.
According to flight records, the 320-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner departed Calgary just after 11 p.m. following the passenger’s removal.
WestJet said the flight safely arrived at its destination at 2:39 p.m. local time.