Saturday 1 December – Father Christmas today swapped his sleigh and reindeer for an easyJet plane to raise more than £14,000 for Essex charities and good causes, whilst delivering a thrilling festive experience in the skies for local children.
Santa was at the controls for the two flights, with his cheeky band of elves as the cabin crew to look after and entertain everyone with carol singing and games.
Before boarding the flight, the Christmas experience included a visit to Winter Wonderland for a delicious festive themed buffet, a chance to write a letter to Father Christmas and post it in a special Santa post-box and a fun-packed family show by leading Essex entertainer Nicky Trix. The Cliffs Pavilion team were also on hand giving out Aladdin t hemed gift bags.
Following the two 45-minute flights there was a surprise gift (kindly donated by PMS International Toys in Basildon), snowmen and a candlelight Christmas choir.
Stacey from Rayleigh was taking her 3-year old daughter Lyla on the Santa flights. She said “We have been to Lapland before and wanted to do something else up in the air for Christmas, so when we heard about this and it was for local charities we really wanted to get involved. We did not know what to expect but it has been absolutely brilliant, really, really good, everyone has just put so much effort in to make it an amazing day.”
Melissa Hilliard from Benfleet said “It has been a unique and really special experience – especially the magic show, that was excellent!”
Glyn Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Stobart Aviation, owners of London Southend Airport says: “The festive Santa Flights are a truly magical day out for the children and their families, so we were delighted to be able to provide them again, whilst also raising much-needed funds for fantastic local charities and good causes.”
As part of a festive partnership, Arriva buses also offered customers free travel to the airport so they could enjoy their Santa Flight without having to worry about how to get there. Speaking about the partnership, Craig Taylor, marketing manager for Arriva Hertfordshire and Essex, said: "Christmas is a time for giving and we're delighted to partner with London Southend Airport so that people could easily get to their Santa Flights. The initiative is a unique one that will not only raise money for charity but will also give children in the area a fantastic day out and we hope we can continue to partner with the airport for similar events in the years to come."
London Southend Airport would like to say a huge thank you all its sponsors who have made the 2018 Santa Flights possible – easyjet, PMS International, TRG, The Cliffs Pavilion, Arriva and Rochford Rotary Club – plus the many airport staff who help organise the event.