Christmas is fast approaching, with Santa mapping out his special, top-secret flight plan with Airservices Australia this week to ensure all’s in order for Operation Present Drop on Christmas Eve.
As Australia’s official Santa flight management team, Airservices’ air traffic controllers have allocated Santa’s call sign – ‘Red One’ – and carefully designed his flightpath across the country, so his sleigh can get to where he needs to, safely and efficiently.
Airservices has also issued a special flight operations notice, known as a NOTAM, to all pilots, to ensure Santa has a clear path through Australian airspace to deliver presents across the nation on Christmas Eve.
Millions of children on Santa’s nice list will be attempting to sleep with one eye open on Christmas Eve, as the Airservices team works tirelessly to ensure Santa enjoys a safe flight and makes his deliveries on time.
Santa will visit the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, where he then crosses into Australian airspace around Norfolk Island to zig-zag his way up and down the country. He will exit Australian airspace by sunrise just over the Cocos Islands.
This is all the information Airservices can provide about Santa’s route as full details are classified Top Secret Santa (TSS).
Airservices Australia Chief Executive Officer Jason Harfield said Santa’s complex flightpath involved frequent tight turns and multiple low-level descents.
“Our air traffic controllers will be guiding Santa safely through Australian airspace, using our surveillance technology to track him twice every second to ensure we keep Santa and his reindeer safe, on-time and on-track to deliver presents,” Mr Harfield said.
“He’s cleared to fly below 500ft so he can skim the rooftops and deliver his presents quickly and quietly – after all, his magical sleigh isn’t your average aircraft.
“We also make best use of tailwinds to help Santa fly faster, with less effort and our continuous descent operations help make present arrivals as quiet as possible.
“Our air traffic controllers, engineers, technicians and aviation rescue fire fighters will all be working hard throughout Christmas – just as they do all year long – to ensure that Santa’s sleigh and all other flights are guided safely through our airspace.”
Visit Santa’s dedicated Airservices Facebook page to watch his progress on Christmas Eve – one of the busiest nights of the year in Australian airspace.
Airservices Australia is a Federal Government-owned organisation responsible for the safe and efficient management of 11 per cent of the world’s airspace and the provision of aviation rescue fire fighting services at Australia’s busiest airports. We connect people with their world safely – linking family and friends, generating economic activity, creating jobs and facilitating trade and tourism.