Santa returns to the skies over Shannon

Shannon Airport has announced that, due to huge demand, it will again partner with Ryanair this Christmas to repeat the magic that was delivered for children last year when the airport marked the end of its first 12 months as an independent entity.
This year’s flights will operate on December 13th and 14th when ten flights in all, carrying almost 1,900 passengers, will take to the skies over the two days, with Santa transferring from his sleigh to board the aircraft some 15,000ft above sea-level during the 40 minute journeys.
All bar 80 seats, which are set aside for two charities – the Clare Crusaders in Clare and St Gabriel’s School in Limerick – are up for grabs on a first-come, first-serve basis when booking opens this Friday (28th November) at 2pm on the Shannon Airport website,
Booking, which can be made online only, is confined to a maximum of six, with two adults only among the six to ensure as many children as possible get to enjoy this magical Christmas adventure.
The thrill for children begins on arrival, with characters from their favourite cartoons on hand to welcome the special guests, while the transit lounge will be transformed into a winter playground, together with Mrs Claus, elves, games and a puppet show.
This year a nominal €10 fee will apply per booking, whether for two or six people, with the proceeds going towards the designated charities, the Clare Crusaders and St Gabriel’s School.
The initiative is a thank-you from Shannon Airport to the region for making the second year of the independent entity even more successful, with the airport set for double digit growth in 2014 after stopping five successive years of decline in passenger numbers last year with a marginal increase.
Announcing the popular return of the Santa Flights, Shannon Group Chairman Rose Hynes said that the loyalty of the region is much appreciated at the airport. “We have had a good year so it is an appropriate time to say thank-you to the public for its support and we are doing it through our Santa flights. It’s a major operation for our staff and partners at Shannon Airport and the Ryanair team at Shannon as we will have almost 1,900 additional and very special passengers to cater for over two days but we are really looking forward to it,” said the Shannon chairman.
Said Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey: “Last year was intended as a one-off but we were inundated with requests from parents wanting us to do it again this year. We are delighted that Ryanair are partnering with us once again, so it’s lift-off for Operation Santa. The tricky bit of the operation is, of course, making sure the aircraft gets to the right speed for Santa to transfer from his sleigh, but all being well this should go smoothly.”
Ryanair’s Maria Macken said : “We are delighted to team up with Shannon Airport again this year and give children in the Shannon region the chance to meet Santa in the sky. It was great last year to see the delight on the eyes of the children and for so many of them it was their first time on an aircraft. We are expecting huge demand and our advice is to book early to give yourself the best chance of getting seats.”


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