MONTREAL — Air Transat and The Children’s Wish Foundation invited hundreds of sick children on a special flight to the North Pole yesterday, as part of the Flights in Search of Santa event.
Air Transat’s $143,000 donation to the charity represented the amounts collected over the past year as part of the carrier’s ‘Small Change, Big Hearts’ program and other initiatives.
“For Air Transat, this annual get-together is a mainstay of the Holiday season, and a favourite event of our employees,” said Jean-Francois Lemay, General Manager, Air Transat. “A child’s smile truly brings tidings of comfort and joy, and we in turn are delighted to bring a little magic into the lives of hundreds of children with severe illnesses, across Canada and now in France as well, with our first flight from Paris.”
The annual flights, bound for the North Pole, take off simultaneously from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. In Montreal, the day began at the Air Transat check-in counter at Montréal-Trudeau airport, where some 250 passengers, including children living with severe illnesses, along with members of their families, received their boarding passes for the North Pole. They then made their way to the boarding lounge, where a number of festive activities awaited. Finally, they took their seats in the aircraft for a 90-minute flight during which Santa Claus made a surprise appearance and distributed presents.
Since December 2009, funds raised through the Small Change, Big Hearts program have been donated in equal parts to the Children’s Wish Foundation and to SOS Children’s Villages, an international organization that assists orphaned and abandoned children in 134 countries.