On 24 December each year, UK airspace plays host to a very special visitor, someone to whom the normal rules of the air do not apply - Santa Claus.
Preparations for the night begin much earlier in the year, when representatives of Santa’s Workshop visit our control centres at Swanwick and Prestwick to discuss and plan the route for Christmas Eve. Delivering presents to millions of children in just a few hours is complex work so the planning has to be meticulous, taking into account the delivery schedule and decreasing weight of the on board cargo versus the increasing weight of the pilot (all those mince pies soon add up).
Everything is checked twice.
Then comes Christmas Eve, NATS controllers are in regular contact with the sleigh as it flies in and out of UK airspace. Such is the complexity of the operation, the easiest way to explain it is to show you - so we’ve taken real radar data and real radio transmissions from 24 December last year to create "Yuletide 24".
We hope you enjoy it (Ho Ho Ho!).
Merry Christmas from everyone at NATS!
Find out more at nats.aero/yuletide24