A Launceston taxi driver has been banned from picking up passengers at the Launceston Airport after taking single-use masks from the airport terminal.
The driver for taxi company Airport Cab Service who claimed to have taken 10 masks from the airport was handed a one week ban following the incident.
Taxi owner Ross Mase said he was advised the driver could be charged for theft and the ban extended up to seven weeks.
Mr Mase said as part of the protocols in place for picking up passengers from the airport, the taxi needed to have masks in the cab.
After arriving at the airport without passenger masks, Mr Mase said the driver took 10 single-use masks from the terminal to ensure passenger safety.
A Launceston Airport spokesperson said the issue constituted a theft and confirmed the driver had been suspended from operating at the airport for seven days on December 22.
They said the theft was not an isolated incident and advised that the suspension followed several breaches of the commercial agreement between the driver and the Launceston Airport.
Mr Mase said with passengers seen taking large numbers of masks from the terminal the suspension was extreme. He said the suspension directly impacted the business as well as passengers who had already made bookings with the service over the holiday period.
Mr Mase said he understood the driver had done the wrong thing by attending the airport without their own masks, but said the incident could have been managed better by the Airport.
He said the driver tried to make amends for the incident by replacing the masks they took from the terminal, but the staff at the airport refused the offer.
The spokesperson for the airport said the masks the driver offered were reusable masks, not single-use P2 masks used by the Launceston Airport as part of its COVID-safe protocols.
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