Finnair is still Santa’s favourite airline
Finnair has been the official airline of Santa Claus since 1983. Flying him across the globe from his homeland in Finland, it not only helps promote the image of the country around the world, but more importantly brings joy to thousands of children (and adults too).
At the heart of the relationship is Finnair’s collaboration with the Santa Claus Foundation, an organization aimed at improving the wellbeing of children all over the world. Usually, that means flying Santa on a goodwill tour of Europe and Asia, with a major focus on China and Japan, visiting preschools, kindergartens and hospitals to spread Christmas cheer.
“People go crazy, especially in Japan and China,” says Jari Ahjoharju from the Santa Foundation. “Everyone wants to take a photo with Santa.”
On Finnair flights, there is normally a festive in-flight menu over Christmas to get customers into the spirit of the season, with additional flights to Rovaniemi, Santa’s home in Finnish Lapland.
In 2020 though, things look different. While Santa will of course still be paying a visit to children on Christmas Day, travel restrictions mean that Finnair won’t be able to take Santa from Finnish Lapland on his usual magical world tour. There will be fewer visitors to his home in the Arctic Circle too.
“Of course, Santa is going to visit every home, but with Finnair, we know there’s no possibility we can fly him to other countries, like China and Japan,” says Jari. “We don’t have those events this year, but we have made some virtual events instead.”
Jari says that Santa will also be upping his presence on social media, meaning kids will be able to catch a glimpse of him online this year.
“For us, it’s, of course, important to tell everyone that Santa is from Finland,” he adds. “It’s important to spread that message. The other important thing is the charity work we do with children.”
Santa and the Santa Foundation are still hard at work on charitable projects, donating funds to improve education in Nepal and provide tablet PCs to unaccompanied children arriving in Finland. Money spent on products with a Santa Claus Foundation logo will reach the good causes that the foundation works with.
Santa himself will be staying safe in Finnish Lapland in 2020 and taking virtual visits from excited children around the world instead.
“I really hope that Covid goes away and that Santa can travel again,” he says. “I’m sure that the situation will be better next year.”
In the meantime, keep an eye out on Finnair’s social media channels to see what Santa is up to and how you can get closer to him, and the spirit of Christmas, without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Travel may be different this year, but Finnair will continue to be the official airline of Santa Claus and help spread joy no matter where you are in the world.