SLEIGH RIDER ONE – Santa countdown begins!

11 Dec 2019

With 14 sleeps left before Christmas, Airservices Australia has officially allocated Santa’s call sign – SLEIGH RIDER ONE – while also issuing a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to advise aircraft to keep clear of Santa as he delivers presents across Australia on Christmas Eve.

Santa will depart from the North Pole, following his usual route travelling down the international dateline. He will visit the Pacific Islands before dropping into New Zealand.

Santa will then cross into Australian airspace, around Norfolk Island zig zagging his way up and down the country. He will exit Australian airspace by sunrise just over the Cocos Islands.

However, this is all the information Airservices can provide about Santa’s route as full details are classified TSS (Top Secret Santa).

His failsafe top secret route ensures Santa will visit every household before departing Australian airspace as he continues his journey onwards, dropping presents off for children in the countries north of Australia.

According to Airservices Chief Air Traffic Controller Marcus Knauer, staff are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure Santa enjoys a safe Christmas Eve flight and makes his deliveries on time.

“We’re using world-leading air traffic management satellite technology to ensure we keep Santa and his reindeer safe, on-time and on-track to deliver presents,” Marcus said.

“Santa has very special requirements for his complex flight paths – in comparison to average aircraft he makes frequent tight turns and conducts multiple low level descents.

“He’s cleared to fly at 500FT so he can skim the rooftops and deliver his presents as efficiently as possible. He is also authorised to use his booster rockets as required to fly at much faster speeds if he is falling behind.

“Our air traffic controllers, engineers, technicians and aviation rescue fire fighters all have to work hard on Christmas Eve to keep up with Santa!” Marcus added.

Visit Santa’s dedicated Airservices tracking website and watch his progress via Facebook on Christmas Eve, one of the busiest nights of the year in Australian airspace.


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