Wishes come true for 100 sick children as they take off in search of Santa Claus with Air Transat and The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada

Air Transat takes the opportunity to donate $780,000 to the Foundation

For the seventh year, Air Transat and the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada have taken flight with about a hundred sick children and members of their families, bound for the North Pole on a very special mission: to rendezvous with Santa Claus and bring him to Montreal! Today, Air Transat also took the opportunity to turn over $780,000 to the Foundation, representing amounts collected over the past two years as part of the carrier’s Small Change, Big Hearts program and other activities.

The adventure began in the morning at the Air Transat check-in counter at Montréal–Trudeau airport, as nearly 250 invited passengers received their boarding passes. The plane took off and, at the crucial moment during the 90-minute flight, joyful cries were heard as Santa Claus made a surprise appearance and handed out presents to the wide-eyed children. Host Annie-Soleil Proteau, Olympic medallist Marianne St-Gelais and Santa’s elves were also on board to help the families accomplish their mission.

“For Air Transat, this event holds a very special place among our corporate responsibility initiatives, and our employees go all-out to make the day an unforgettable one,” said Allen B. Graham, President and CEO of Air Transat and President of Transat Canada. “We’re proud to support Children’s Wish and do our part to help brighten the lives of young children who are struggling with illness every day. I would like to sincerely thank our customers for their generosity, and our flight crews for their enthusiasm and their co-operation. With their help, we’ve been able to donate approximately $5,780,000 to the Foundation since our partnership was established in 2004.”

For his part, Laurent Larose, Regional Director with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, said: “Creating magic, memorable moments is the heart of what we do. Thanks to Air Transat, we are able to provide a hundred children with this extraordinary experience, a mid-air meet-up with Santa himself. It’s magical; there’s not other word for it!” He added: “Without these major contributions from partners like Air Transat, we wouldn’t be able to make so many kids’ dreams a reality. Air Transat has been a platinum partner of the Foundation for eight years now, and we are so grateful for this.”

The Flight in Search of Santa is made possible thanks to the volunteer efforts of Air Transat employees and the generous collaboration of various partners, including Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson and Vancouver International airports. A similar flight took off from Vancouver on December 4, and another departed Toronto today at the same time as the Montreal flight.

This exceptional partnership reflects the efforts of Air Transat and its parent company, Transat A.T. Inc., to increase their community involvement in both their origin and destination markets. These efforts are all about social engagement, environmental stewardship and measures aimed at stimulating a tourism economy that is becoming increasingly responsible.

Small Change, Big Hearts

The Small Change, Big Hearts program is supported by the donation of pocket change, in all currencies, from Air Transat passengers at the end of each flight. Since December 2009, funds raised through the 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 132 countries.

About The Children’s Wish Foundation

The Children’s Wish Foundation grants their most heartfelt wish to children aged 3 to 17 living with a life threatening illness. Since its beginnings in 1984, the Foundation has granted over 19,000 wishes across Canada, 6,000 of which in Québec. Moreover, the Foundation is committed to never turning down an eligible child. This year, the Children’s Wish Foundation plans to grant over 1,000 new wishes. For more information, visit www.childrenswish.ca.

About Air Transat

Air Transat is Canada’s leading holiday travel airline. Every year, it carries some 3 million passengers to nearly 60 destinations in 25 countries aboard its fleet of Airbus wide-body jets. The company employs approximately 2,000 people. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated international tour operator with more than 60 destination countries and that distributes products in over 50 countries.