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Santa Claus cleared for take off

Federal Transportation Minister March Garneau has cleared Santa Claus and his crew for take-off in Canadian airspace on Christmas Eve.

“While many Canadians are restricting their holiday gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19, Transport Canada officials have ensured Santa and his reindeer have taken all necessary precautions so they can safely deliver presents to boys and girls across the county,” said Garneau.

The Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region has charged its CF-18 Hornet pilots, maintainers and trackers with the mission of monitoring and escorting Santa as he completes his magical journey through Canadian airspace.

This Christmas marks the 65th consecutive year of NORAD tracking Santa’s yuletide journey around the world. The defence of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is a bi-national U.S. and Canadian command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America, as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally. However, every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world.

Escort pilots and maintainers join Santa trackers from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron at 22 Wing North Bay to maintain radio contact with Santa and his escort pilots.

You can join NORAD tracking Santa by visiting  http://www.noradsanta.org.

Featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, the website includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information regarding NORAD’s mission of defending North America, and more.   

Starting on Dec. 24 at 2:01 a.m. EST, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations.

Starting at 6 a.m. EST trackers worldwide can call to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-HI-NORAD (1877-446-6723) where they will either speak with a live phone operator or hear a recorded update.

Due to COVID concerns, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Centre will have fewer operators, so callers who do not reach a volunteer will hear a regularly updated recording as to Santa’s current location.

Additionally, any time on Dec. 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa, and OnStar members can push the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.

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