Santa Claus and Air Force Announce Christmas Alliance

By Nicholas Ballasy | December 19, 2008 | 7:10 PM EST

( - Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced Thursday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland that Santa Claus will have access to special air space on Christmas Eve used by the United States Air Force. Major General Ralph Jodice of the Air Force District of Washington said this will allow Santa to deliver gifts to children faster on Christmas Eve.

Secretary Peters said the agreement came about because sometimes “we have bad weather” on Christmas and Santa has a “hard time getting where needs to go.”

“So, last year we talked to the Department of Defense and we said, ‘Hey, can we use some of that military air space if you are not using it for training or security purposes and get some planes in there and maybe even let Santa use that over the holidays?’ So, we tested it out last year, it worked great,” she said.

Since the idea was successful last Christmas, Secretary Peters said the parties involved decided to help Santa even more this year.

“So, this year, we’ve expanded it and we’ve even put in some new lanes for Santa to be able to use this year,” she said. “So, he’s not only along the east coast but in the Midwest and in the far west out in California and Arizona. Everywhere – everywhere.”

Santa told at Andrews Air Force Base that the secretary’s help makes his job a lot easier.

“The secretary’s earlier prepared remarks were all prepared most accurately,” Santa Claus told “Everything she alliterated is true. She is Santa’s number one helper. Now, we’ve got a lot of them out there but the truth is, she’s been helping for years now with special orders that approve Santa’s flights and – a cargo operation really and that’s all taken care of.”

“We don’t want Santa to break down on his routes on Christmas Eve because there’s too many good girls and boys out there and we want to make sure he gets there,” said Sec. Peters.

Major General Ralph Jodice said the Air Force has also been working with Santa on Global Position System (GPS) technology.

“We at our North American Defense Command (NORAD) will track Santa from the time he gets airborne out of the North Pole and assure that he gets clearance into our air space and is tracked appropriately and provide him the right clearances to get the to the houses; to get to all the good people around the nation,” Jodice told

When asked if the Air Force and the U.S. Military will help Santa on Christmas Eve if he has any problems, Jodice said they will make sure he gets where he needs to go.

“His air craft is certified like all our aircraft and has the same type of equipment,” said Jodice. “We’ll be tracking him if he’s got any problems. He can put in a code if he’s got some issues and we’ll help him get where he needs to go.”