THE ever enduring popularity of Santa Claus showed no signs of slowing this week, as 1,900 seats on Shannon Airport’s Santa flights sold out in a matter of minutes.
The flights - run in conjunction with Ryanair - sold out in 12 minutes this Wednesday, as parents and children snapped up the most sought after holiday gift in the region this festive season.
In its second year, the flights were a hugely popular sellout last year having attracted 15,000 applications within three hours for Christmas 2013.
Ten flights in all will carry almost 1,900 passengers over two days this December, with Santa transferring from his sleigh to board the aircraft some 15,000ft above sea-level during the 40 minute journeys.
A nominal €10 charge for each booking of up to a max of six seats was applied, with all the proceeds going to two local charities - the Clare Crusaders and St Gabriel’s School.
Mirmear Autism Unit Class in Puckane, Nenagh, was announced as the winner of a special online competition, taking 40 seats on the flights.
Neil Pakey, CEO of the Shannon Group said the demand was “phenomenal”.
“We had 1,900 seats available for the public and the fact that they were gone within 12 minutes shows just how big the demand was,” he said.
“If we had 100 times the number of seats available today, it probably wouldn’t have been enough. The demand was that huge and obviously grew from last year when we operated our Santa Flights for the first time.
“This is the airport’s way of saying thank you to the public for its support in a year that has seen our passenger numbers grow significantly. It’s all systems go now for December 13 and 14.”