Santa Claus cleared for flight in upper stratosphere

News Release

December 23, 2015 - North Pole - Transport Canada


Santa and his reindeer are cleared for take-off!

Transport Canada is pleased to confirm that Santa Claus and his reindeer have been cleared for take-off. Santa has conducted his pre-flight inspection, reviewed his checklist, and filed his round-the-world flight plan. Officials have also certified Santa’s Space Sleigh (SSS 1), which will fly in and out of space for the first time.

Former astronaut and Minister of Transport Marc Garneau teleconferenced with the elves as they modified the sleigh. Modifications included a rocket engine, solar panels, and Canadarm-HOHO. This new, smaller version of the Canadarm will be used to unload heavier gifts and avoid putting pressure on Santa’s lower back. These modifications will allow Santa’s sleigh to reach record high speeds and reduce energy consumption by 75%.

This year, not only Santa, but all his reindeer underwent full medical examinations to make sure they were in tip-top ‘astronaut shape’. The elves gathered patiently outside the North Pole Clinic while a civil aviation medical examiner conducted a series of tests. After a few hours, Santa came out happily waving their medical certificates high in the air.

Tomorrow, Santa and his reindeer will meet up at the hangar to check-in two hours before their international departure. They will be screened quickly by showing their NEXUS cards upon arrival. One by one, they will choose to go through the full body scanner or opt for an elf’s pat down. The cargo will be loaded and screened in the secure area of the hangar. The SSS 1 will launch at 11:55 p.m. (North Pole Time) and is expected to reach orbit at midnight.

Quick Facts

  • Santa reminds everyone that pointing a laser pointer at him or his reindeer is #NotABrightIdea. Laser pointers can distract them and create glare or temporary blindness, which could cause the fleet to get tangled up.
  • In order to deliver all his gifts on time, Santa asks that you keep all drones inside after dark. Flying a drone at night is dangerous and could scare his reindeer. All drones buzzing too close to his sleigh will be reported in Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Report System.
  • Santa took the pledge to Leave the Phone Alone and will not respond to text messages or calls while piloting his sleigh. To stay in touch, you can track him and his reindeer on the NORAD Tracks Santa website ( and #NORADSanta hashtag.


“Santa Claus can continue to count on a safe and secure transportation system, in and out of space. Launching Santa into orbit is another giant leap for mankind that I’m proud to have supported.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

“Building a sleigh that would fly Santa in and out of space was a bold and ambitious mission. These new modifications and updated technology will ensure a more efficient Christmas Eve for Santa and his flight crew.”
Elf Gustave
Head Elf, Sleigh Engineering Department

Associated Links


Marc Roy
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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