Layla and Melanie Dormer with Cillian Tuohy waiting for the Santa Flights last year Picture: Arthur Ellis
OVER 90,000 applications have been received for Shannon Airport’s Santa Flights, a massive increase on last year.
The airport said that, as of this Tuesday, the flights on December 3 and 4 next had attracted 90,000 applications for the available 2,000 seats on the flights.
This figure represents an increase of over 55% on the corresponding stage 12 months ago with applications received right across the country and as far afield as the UK.
Applications from Clare, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Tipperary accounted for over 60% of those received.
There is still time to apply and entry is open until this Wednesday, with applicants to be selected by lottery. Those successful will be notified on November 15.
Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas said there was “no better draw than Santa”.
“We are delighted at the incredible demand for these flights but can’t say we’re entirely surprised,” he said.
“Airports are a magical place at Christmas as they are where homecomings really begin for so many families at this special time of year, not least at Shannon with such a large percentage of passengers flying in to spend time with families.
“But for us, Christmas really begins on the first weekend of December when we will welcome children and adults from far and wide for the Santa flights. It would be impossible to satisfy the demand but not far off 2,000 children will go away extremely happy that weekend from here and that’s a lot of happy young faces.”
A nominal charge of €9.99 applies for each Santa Flight seat with the event acting as a fundraiser for the Shannon Group’s designated charities – Galway’s Ábalta Special School for children with autism and complex needs and the Irish Children’s Arthritis Network (iCAN).
In addition, Shannon Airport’s Facebook page will be putting out a call over the coming days for nominations for two worthy groups – a charity, a community group or social group – for a block of 20 seats each.
“It’s a hectic two days but we are really looking forward to it. We’re so thankful to all the volunteers who give their time to make it happen and the generous support of our partners at Swissport, without whom it would not be possible,” added Mr Thomas.
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.