Thomas Cook Airlines’ new Airbus A321 took off yesterday from Manchester on a special pre-Christmas ‘flight of dreams’ with 100 disadvantaged children on board.

The special hour-long flight included a visit from Father Christmas, gifts from Hamleys and entertainment at the airport.

The children also helped christen the aircraft with its new name as part of its first public flight since being handed over from Airbus last week.

Joanna Wild, chairwoman of the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity said: “We’re thrilled that we can offer this unforgettable experience to these children and their families, especially as they have never flown before.”

A new logo for the charity was unveiled, which “symbolises the work we do to improve children’s lives and in some way benefit the communities in which they live,” added Wild.

More than 100 children, along with members of their families and carers, took the specially-chartered flight with children from Medlock Primary School also joining those families nominated by the Greater Manchester Early Intervention team.

Thomas Cook Airlines chief operating officer Cor Vrieswijk said: “It’s fantastic that such deserving children can help us celebrate the first flight of our new aircraft, and help us christen the new livery with the aircraft’s new name. It’s a very special day for our airlines and we’re very honoured to be able to share this on such a great occasion.”