Air traffic controllers are preparing for the world’s most important flight of the year.
At their hi-tech base in Hampshire, the men and women who control thousands of aeroplane routes across the country have devised one for the most-eagerly awaited flier - Santa.
And the team at the NATS headquarters at Swanwick have made it simple for anyone to create a ‘Elf Traffic Control’ flight plan for Santa straight to their own home.
Brendan Kelly of NATS said: ‘Following a ground-breaking agreement between NATS and the North Pole, we can offer UK residents unprecedented access to Santa’s Elf Traffic Control system.
‘By simply entering your name, location and most wished for present, the system will search through billions of entries to determine whether you’ve made onto the all-important Nice List.
‘Then, providing your details check out, you’ll see a simulation of Santa’s actual flight plan for your location on Christmas Eve.
‘Safety is always our top priority, so preparations for the big night begin earlier in the year when the man himself makes a low-key visit to NATS. His flight plan for Christmas Eve is discussed in detail and he meets the air traffic controllers who play such a pivotal role in guiding his flight.
‘Delivering presents to the millions of children on Santa’s N.I.C.E. List (National Inventory of Child Escapades) in just a few hours is incredibly complex work so the planning has to be meticulous. Working together we take into account the delivery schedule and decreasing weight of the on-board cargo versus the increasing weight of the pilot (millions of cookies and mince pies soon add up!).’