Ready for take off from Shannon are Jill Dullea with her daughters Maya and Eva Picture: Arthur Ellis
OVER 2,000 seats will be made available for Shannon Airport’s hugely popular Santa Flights, which return this December.
The flights, taking place on December 3 and 4, will take place for a fourth year, ensuring Santa’s busiest annual day in the region – outside the big day itself – continues to be a major treat for local kids.
Proceeds from the tickets – 2,000 in all that will be allocated by lottery – will go towards the Shannon Group’s chosen charities for 2016, the Irish Children’s Arthritis Network (iCAN) and Galway’s Ábalta Special School for children with autism and complex needs.
Seats will also be set aside on flights over the two days for the charity partners and with demand expected to significantly exceed seat availability, Shannon will assign the tickets by lottery, with forms available online before the deadline of November 9.
“Any day when you have hundreds of young children pouring through the airport beaming with excitement at the prospect of getting to meet Santa high in the sky on board an aircraft is a day when you’re going to have a lot of fun,” said Matthew Thomas, CEO of the Shannon Group on the flights, which were introduced in 2013 to mark the airport’s first year as an independent entity and act as a thank-you to the region for its support.
“We are grateful to our staff volunteers who give their time over the two days and the support of partners at Swissport to make this an extra special event.
"Staff at the airport and across our Group companies pour their hearts into creating a really special sprinkle of Christmas magic,” he added.
Shannon Group chair Rose Hynes said: "We continue to have the loyalty and support of the people of the region and this is a way of saying ‘thanks’ for that.
"Our Santa Flights have proved hugely popular, way beyond our expectations, which is great both for the children who get to participate and for our charity partners who benefit directly."
Bookings are confined to a maximum of six but with the airport determined to ensure as many children as possible avail of the very special Christmas treat, a maximum of two adults will be allowed with any group of six. Children are not allowed on their own.
The magic begins for children on arrival, with characters from their favourite cartoons on hand to welcome the special guests as the transit lounge is transformed into a winter playground. There will be a disco, elves, a puppet show, face painting and plenty of other fun and games.
See www.shannonairport.ie for more full details on how to book.