For Immediate Release
December 11, 2023
LAX Public Relations
More than 1,000 attendees joined in holiday festivities, local YMCA toy drives and honored Van Nuys Airport’s 95th birthday
(Los Angeles and Van Nuys, CA) — On Saturday, Dec. 9, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY) hosted community Santa Fly-In events that were a great success — each attracting over 500 enthusiastic attendees of all ages for a day filled with celebrations, entertainment and giving back to the community. The events were made possible by partnerships with the Westchester Family YMCA and the Mid Valley Family YMCA, and helped support the organizations’ annual holiday toy drives.
Families enjoyed up-close views of different aircraft, interacted with airport therapy dogs from the Pets Untressing Passengers (PUPs) program, and participated in ornament decorating activities, before waiting for Santa to greet them on the ground. Santa made a thrilling entrance by landing directly on the airfield, then read the Clement Clarke Moore poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," better known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” to the crowd of excited guests. Community members were sent home with milk and cookies, and heartwarming memories of a festive day at the airport.
“The Santa Fly-In events showcased the remarkable spirit of unity and generosity in our communities,” said Beatrice Hsu, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). “I am grateful to our partners at the Westchester Family YMCA and Mid Valley Family YMCA for supporting this effort to bring members of our community together to celebrate the holiday season. It was great to see so many people of all ages happy to see Santa, and also so generously donate to toy drives that will help brighten the holidays for children in need. Thank you, Santa, for stopping by our airports and making the day so fun for everyone!"
"The overwhelming turnout and support from our airport community truly made the Community Santa Fly-In a heartwarming success,” said Van Nuys Airport Manager Paul Herrera. “Seeing families come together and contribute to the toy drive showcases the generosity and goodwill present in our community during this special time of year."
Santa takes selfies with the crowd at LAX (left) and Van Nuys during Saturday's Santa Fly-In events.
In support of the Westchester and Mid-Valley Family YMCAs annual toy drives, toys suitable for children of all ages were generously contributed by guests. The events also received tremendous support from airport tenants, who provided donations for the toy drive and engaged with the children and families.
At LAX, DHL provided a cargo plane for children and their parents to tour, while planes from the Condor Squadron and a DHL helicopter from Helinet were on hand at VNY. At both events, Santa arrived in a Cessna 172 piloted by Hernan Posada, an Unmanned Aircraft System Research Pilot and Aviation Safety Officer with NASA.
The VNY community also commemorated the airport’s 95th birthday at the event. The celebration included a birthday cake for the airport, marking nearly a century of serving the community and fostering a legacy of aviation excellence.
Children and adults were able to tour a DHL cargo plane during the Santa Fly-In at LAX (top left), children listen to Santa read "A Visit from St. Nicholas" as LAX (top right), a Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) airport therapy dog visits at Van Nuys (lower left) and VNY airport marked its 95th birthday as part of Saturday's events (bottom right).
LAX, the sixth-busiest airport in the world serving nearly 66 million guests in 2022, is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a proprietary, revenue-generating department of the City of Los Angeles that also governs Van Nuys Airport (VNY). As the international gateway to the Southern California region, LAX and its partners are dedicated to meeting global airport standards for customer satisfaction, safety, regional economic leadership, organizational performance and sustainability.
To better serve the millions of domestic and international guests that travel through LAX each year, the airport is undergoing a multi-billion-dollar capital improvement program to modernize its entire campus. Initiatives underway include an Automated People Mover, a Consolidated Rental Car Facility and two projects that will each add over one million square feet to the airport's existing property: Terminal 9 and Concourse 0. For more information about LAX, its transformation and its environmental, social and local workforce commitments, please visit flylax.com. Follow LAX on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.
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