Taking to the air to make dreams come true and live the magic of the Holidays - A hundred sick kids bring Santa Claus back to Montreal thanks to Air Transat and the Children's Wish Foundation


Air Transat takes the opportunity to donate $309,605 to the Foundation

MONTREAL, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - On a very special flight bound for the North Pole, at a cruising altitude of 8,000 metres, about a hundred sick children joined forces with Air Transat and the Children's Wish Foundation today to bring Santa Claus back to Montreal. Air Transat took the opportunity to turn over $309,605 to the Foundation, representing amounts collected over the past year 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 the approximately 250 invited passengers received their boarding passes. During the 90-minute flight, joyful cries were heard as Santa Claus made a surprise appearance to hand out presents to the wide-eyed children. A number of celebrities as well as Santa's elves were also on board for the festivities.

"For Air Transat, organizing this event with the Children's Wish Foundation, with the Holidays just around the corner, has become a real tradition. It is very special to our employees and is an important part of our corporate responsibility initiatives," said Jean-Francois Lemay, General Manager, Air Transat. "We're proud to play a part in the well-being of young children for whom illness is a daily struggle. I would like to warmly thank our customers for their generosity, and our flight crews for their co-operation and their enthusiasm. Thanks to them, we have donated more than 5 million dollars to the Foundation since our partnership was established in 2004."

For her part, Judith Dontigny, interim Director for the Children's Wish Foundation in Montreal, said: "Creating magic, memorable moments is at the heart of the Children's Wish Foundation's mission. With this wonderful flight, made possible by Air Transat, we provide an unforgettable experience for children and their family members who are deeply affected by illness. Initiatives by partners like Air Transat bring hope to sick children and allow us to fulfil our mission. Air Transat has been a platinum partner of the Foundation for nine years now, and we couldn't be more grateful for its help."

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 Calgary International airports. Similar flights took off today from Toronto and Calgary.

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 donations of pocket change from passengers at the end of every Air Transat flight. Since December 2009, funds raised have been donated in equal parts to the Children's Wish Foundation and to SOS Children's Villages, an international organization that cares for orphaned and abandoned children in 133 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 more than 20,000 wishes across Canada, some 6,500 of them Quebec. 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.

SOURCE Transat A.T. Inc.


Image with caption: "Air Transat and the Children's Wish Foundation took hundreds of children to the North Pole today, departing from Montreal, Toronto and Calgary, to bring Santa Claus back with them. On the photo: Santa Claus and a child sponsored by the Foundation. (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131210_C9131_PHOTO_EN_34815.jpg

Image with caption: "Air Transat gave a cheque for $309,605 to the Children's Wish Foundation today. From left to right: Jean-François Lemay(General Manager, Air Transat), Roary the mascot, flanked by two elves, and Eric Gareau (Children's Wish Foundation). (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131210_C9131_PHOTO_EN_34814.jpg


Isabelle Paquette
Communications Infrarouge
Tel.: 514 849-4554 Mobile: 514 581-8981

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