24 Dec 2015
Airservices air traffic controllers have checked their lists twice in the countdown to Christmas to make sure that all is set for Santa’s visit as preparations in the North-Pole for the departure of Santa, Rudolf and the reindeer are finalised.
This year, four Aussie kids will give Australians an inside look at the final preparations. The four Santa Commanders—Toby (12), Bella (12), Jackson (9) and Imogen (7)—worked closely with Airservices over recent weeks to plan for the safe and efficient passage of Santa’s sleigh and reindeer across the nation’s skies. Join them on Facebook from 2 pm today to watch them put the final touches on arrangements for Santa’s arrival.
Flying in Australian airspace using the callsign ‘SLEIGHRIDER 1’, Santa will be provided with weather and other flight information throughout the evening by air traffic controllers and Airservices meteorology experts in their National Operations Centre.
Airservices Executive General Manager Air Traffic Control, Greg Hood, said that Airservices would be keeping a close eye on weather patterns to make sure Santa is guided around, over or under any storms while making the most of tail winds to help him on his way.We have the best navigators in the world helping get Santa to where he needs to be.
“We will be keeping Santa and the travelling public safe, as we do each and every day of the year, and making sure that we get families together on Christmas Day. Our air traffic controllers look after 250 000 passengers on 11 000 flights every day from all over the world and all over the country.
“Air traffic controllers will help guide Santa to his first stop in Tasmania as he arrives from New Zealand, before he heads to the mainland and uses Australia’s different time zones, criss-crossing the country delivering presents.
“We have provided Santa with the latest weather forecasts and our meteorologists and air traffic controllers will help Santa keep on top of any sudden weather changes throughout the night. This is to make sure that Santa can get to all the homes he needs to, as safely and efficiently as possible.
“It’s been great having the Santa Commanders on-board this year to help with our preparations and now they have a chance to show other Australians what’s involved in managing 11 per cent of the world’s airspace on one of the busiest nights of the year in our skies,” Mr Hood said.
Go to www.facebook.com.au/airservicessanta from 2 pm today to watch as the Santa Commanders put the final touches on Australia’s planning for Santa’s arrival.
INFORMATION FOR EDITORS
Airservices representatives will be available for interviews until 5 pm AEST on 24 December. Pre-recorded news grabs are available for today and will be available from 6 am on Christmas Day. There will be no live interviews available on Christmas Day. Audio recordings of Santa speaking with air traffic controllers will be available for download from the newsroom from 6 am AEST on 25 December.
Video – Santa Commanders overlay
Video – Santa Commanders ‘teaser’
Video – Santa lodges his flight plan
Video – tracking Santa
Video – Santa visits Airservices
Audio – Santa visits Airservices
Airservices spokesperson Graham Robinson
Airservices spokesperson Sarah Fulton