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TAKING HEART

Scoot brings cheer to healthcare workers and vulnerable families

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The Scoot-mas Surprise ends with an in-flight meal onboard the aircraft. The event honours healthcare workers, and also brings festive cheer to vulnerable children and their families.

Singapore

CHILDREN having aviation lessons in a cockpit, and dressing up as cabin crew - if they win some games.

That was the scene at a boarding gate at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Thursday. Nearly 100 Scoot staff, including 32 cabin crew and 24 pilots, came together to volunteer at the Scoot-mas Surprise event, which honours healthcare workers, and also brings festive cheer to vulnerable children and their families.

A total of 188 people were hosted last Monday and Thursday, across four different sessions.

They "checked in" at a dedicated counter before boarding Scoot's 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Adhering to safe distancing measures, families took turns touring the aircraft flight deck and cabins, hosted by the crew.

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The attendees could also participate in activities upon returning to the gatehold room, and the event concluded with an in-flight meal onboard the aircraft.

Norsalinah Binti Nordin, a beneficiary of Pasir Ris Family Service Centre, said: "My husband was one of those affected job-wise. Apart from the help we get from PSFSC, events like this bring us cheer because it is the school holidays and we have the chance to bring the kids out."

Scoot cabin crew volunteer Alicia Sng said: "Although travel is still out of our reach, I appreciate that we could still wrap up the year by bringing joy to people through this event - which is a good avenue for youngsters to ask questions about the aviation industry."

Although the number of flights that Ms Sng works on has decreased - from the usual 13 to 14 per month to eight now - she has kept herself busy with the upgrading courses the company has sent her. When asked about her wish for the next year, Ms Sng said that she hoped she would be able to see passengers' smiles again.

Another volunteer was Saravanan Ayyavoo, one of the pilots who conducted tours of the flight deck. He said: "Our healthcare workers at the frontlines have sacrificed so much time this year for our safety and well-being. I am happy to get an opportunity to show them around our aircraft."

Mr Ayyavoo, who is working with Mediacorp's Vasantham on a project-basis during this time, said that he would usually fly seven to eight times a month pre-Covid, but the frequency has since been reduced by more than half. When asked about the highlight of the event, he said it was the kids - who would usually be in awe and ask many questions when they were at the cockpit.

Thinking that the airline staff would be less busy during Covid-19 times is a misconception, said Captain Ian Cheng, Scoot SVP flight operations.

"Scoot continues to ensure that our aircraft on ground are preserved in accordance with aircraft and engine manufacturer's recommendations, taking into account the hot and humid weather conditions in Singapore as the storage period lengthened.

"Some of the preservation work done on our aircraft include placing protective covers over the windows, engines and sensitive equipment such as pitot tubes - this helps to prevent the accumulation of foreign materials, or small insects or animals like birds from setting up nests."

He added: "Our engineering team also routinely inspects the condition of the aircraft as per the original equipment manufacturer's recommendations. So while our flights have not returned in full force, our staff have been keeping busy with work that is out of our usual scope."

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