Santa cleared for Christmas flight

| Thursday, December 26, 2002

Kris Kringle, d.b.a. Santa Claus, recently got the green light from the U.S. Department of Transportation to engage in air travel to various points throughout the United States the night of Dec. 24.

An order granting a flight certificate was signed by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who said that Santa Claus was "exceptionally fit, joyfully willing and uniquely able to engage in the interstate air transportation for which he has requested a certificate."

Mineta added that Santa has a 100 percent on-time arrival record, having never failed to deliver all of his toys by Christmas morning. In his application, Santa described himself as a citizen of the world residing at the North Pole who performs a vital and specialized transportation service.

"The points to be served are the dwelling places of good girls and boys, as well as adults of goodwill, throughout the United States," Claus said in his application.

The applicant notes that his operating proposal will meet the air service requirements of countless small communities, and also will serve the major transportation hubs in all regions. Santa also told DOT that his sleigh would be powered by eight tiny reindeer, with the addition of a possible ninth reindeer with a special air navigation warning light in its nose, in the event of fog or heavy snow.

Finally, the applicant, aware of the department's heightened security concerns, said that although he doesn't have a sky marshal aboard he has asked his lead reindeer, Rudolph, to stay especially alert. That would include not traveling in no-fly zones. The department said that no one has opposed the application, and Claus disclosed several million letters of support from children everywhere.

"In these circumstances, it appears that a grant of the applicant's request is in the highest public interest," the department said.

"We're assuming the government made no mention of hours of service rules or black boxes for Santa," Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the OOIDA, said. "They probably figured they'd preserve that discussion for next year."

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