An Austrian Airlines aircraft was blessed and given the name “Silent Night” at Salzburg Airport on Thursday 21 December 2017. Now the World's most famous Christmas Carol is literally flying around the world.
Numerous guests of honour took part, when Vicar General Roland Rasser blessed the Austrian Airline´s plane, an Embraer 195. For the musical setting of the evening the children´s choir of the Salzburg Philharmonie presented a great program conducted by Elisabeth Fuchs.
The guests included Deputy State Governor Christian Stöckl, Kay Kratky, Austrian Airlines CEO, Leo Bauernberger, Managing Director of SalzburgerLand Tourismus, Bert Brugger, Managing Director of Tourism Salzburg as well as the new CEO of Salzburg Airport, Bettina Ganghofer, and Peter Husty, Head Curator of the Salzburg Museum.
At 7 pm the aircraft took off for its virgin flight and with its new name, which is also a symbol for the beginning of the anniversary year 2018.
National exhibitions in various “Silent Night”-villages in Salzburg, Tyrol and Upper Austria combined with a number of activities and projects contributing to peace and understanding between peoples are the highlights of the “Silent Night”-anniversary year”, explains Christian Stöckl, Deputy State Governor of Salzburg.
“The coming year offers the unique opportunity to carry the message of peace to the world. This by no means affords the ardous path the singer families Rainer and Strasser had to take, who made the song well known in Europe and later in the USA. Thanks to our partner Austrian Airlines and the aircraft “Silent Night” our song is flying around the world reaching distant countries in no time”.
The workgroup “Silent Night”, which ensures the international marketing in 110 countries, was founded in order to give the anniversary year an even greater significance. Members of the workgroup are the tourism organisations SalzburgerLand, Tirol Werbung, Oberösterreich Tourismus and Tourismus Salzburg as well as Österreich Tourismus, the Austrian Economic Chamber and – Austrian Airlines. The cooperation agreement with the Austrian carrier was signed before the blessing of the aircraft. “Austrian Airlines sees itself as a flying ambassador for Austria”, says Kay Kratky, AUA-CEO. “Therefore we are very happy to be able to pick up this old tradition and to fly “Silent Night” around the world.
“Silent Night, Holy Night!” is a highly emotional global brand from Austria, which will strengthen our position as an international cultural destination” emphasizes Leo Bauernberger, Managing Director of SalzburgerLand Tourismus. “Guests from all over the world will come to Salzburg in the anniversary year looking for the origin of the song. Therefore it is even more important to have strong partners like Austrian Airlines that are at home throughout the world, but yet firmly rooted in their home country Austria.”
Another important partner in the marketing network of the “Silent Night”-jubilee is Salzburg Airport. Passengers from long-haul-destinations like China, Japan, Korea or the USA can reach Salzburg Airport easily via the international hubs such as Frankfurt or Vienna” says Bettina Ganghofer, CEO of Salzburg Airport.
“It does not happen every day that we have the chance to attend the blessing of an aircraft. It is the first time for myself as well that I have the opportunity to take part in such a special occasion. Austrian Airlines flies people to destinations all over the world every day and by blessing this airplane with the name of the world famous song “Silent Night”, the carrier honors this traditional song”.
“Salzburg is preparing for Advent season and Silent Night every year”, says Bert Brugger, Managing Director of Tourismus Salzburg. “ Promoting Salzburg as a Christmas and winter destination with a focus on Christmas markets, Advent choral concerts and Silent Night has stood the test of time. In the coming anniversary year there will be a number of touristic stimuli, among them a special exhibition in the Salzburg Museum, a stage play in the Felsenreitschule and the famous Advent choral concert in the large Festspielhaus. The aim is to create a link between the traditional Advent season in the city of Salzburg an the most famous Christmas carol”.