Lottery to decide passengers on Shannon’s Santa Flights

Leader Reporters


Leader Reporters

Festive flights: Fergal Archer from Ballinacurra with Santa on the Shannon organised flight last year. Picture: Sean Curtin
SHANNON Aiport has announced the return by “popular demand” of its seasonal Santa Flights this Christmas.

SHANNON Aiport has announced the return by “popular demand” of its seasonal Santa Flights this Christmas.

The festive service is the most sought after ticket around and even with an increased 2,200 seats available, that won’t satisfy the huge demand for the flights.

As such, Shannon is to operate a lottery system for tickets this year, the third that the Santa Flights have run, with the opportunity for children and guardians to meet the man himself some 15,000 feet above sea level on December 12 and 13.

In previous years the flights have sold-out in minutes, with some 15,000 applications within three hours for the inaugural flights in 2013.

The flights are a Shannon Airport initiative and designed as a “thank-you for the support” the airport has received over the past year. They were first introduced two years ago to mark the end of the airport’s first year as an independent entity but have proven so popular that they have returned each year since.

Some 40 seats are being set aside for a charity, school or community group and a special lottery will be held for these.

Bookings are confined to a maximum of six, with two adults only among the six to ensure as many children as possible get to enjoy the special Christmas experience. Forms are available to download now.

“Our Santa Flights like other years will be hugely sought after and are only made possible by our staff, who give up their Saturday and Sunday to make sure everything runs smoothly,” said Neil Pakey, Shannon Group CEO.

“It is a time of the year to say thank-you and we are delighted that it is proving such a hit.” he added.

The magic begins for children on arrival, with festive activity on hand to welcome the special guests and the transit lounge transformed into a winter playground, with Mrs Claus, elves and games. There will be entertainment throughout the day and a little sweet treat for each child after their Santa Flight.

“It’s a special treat and the nominal fee of just €9.99 per seat - infants are free - is to help us, in part, raise money for our Shannon Group charity partners,” said Niall Maloney, operations director in Shannon.

“It’s probably one of the best priced Santa Claus experiences; where else would you get to meet up with Santa at 15,000 feet? We are grateful to our staff volunteer who give their time over the two days and the support of partners at Swissport to make this a special event.

“We arrange the flights in the knowledge that Santa is hovering overhead on these exact dates, doing his practise flights in the area to help him be ready for the 25th. However, he is very generous with his time and happy to drop by and check in on the children lucky enough to be on board.”