Retraction: A previous version of this story falsely reported that the passenger was filmed while being removed from the plane. It has become apparent that the video cited was not related to the incident. We sincerely apologise for the error.

A man was removed from a flight on domestic airline FlySafair on Saturday 24 October after he failed to wear a mask and adhere to the safety protocols that have been mandated for air travel. 

He was told to leave the plane before it departed from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

Airlines ‘risk losing operating licenses’ if safety measures aren’t enforced.  

Flight FA288 was delayed on the runway due to the unpleasant incident, and the man was ultimately removed from the plane by responding members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The South African has reached out to SAPS for further information about what charges, if any, the man faces and will update this article when a response is forthcoming.

FlySafair Chief Marketing Officer Kirby Gordon said the airline will not compromise on COVID-19 regulations and put the lives of other passengers at risk.

He told SABC News that airlines risk losing their operating licenses should they not comply with the strict measures that have been put in place to ensure that COVID-19 is not spread on flights. 

“After addressing a passenger he decided he still no longer wanted to wear his mask. So unfortunately we had to offload the passenger from the aircraft. SAPS were contacted and he was escorted off by SAPS,” he said. 

“It’s absolutely imperative, if we don’t follow the regulations we stand the risk of losing our operating licence. And at this stage wearing a mask in public and on an aircraft is as much a law as anything else so we have to treat it the same way as if an individual were to sit down and light a cigarette or refuse to wear their seatbelt,” says Gordon.

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Presh JM Reporter

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