Home ATC US Government Shutdown: Santa Claus Not Cleared to Enter Airspace

US Government Shutdown: Santa Claus Not Cleared to Enter Airspace

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Santa ATC Memes
The United States Government Shutdown has caused distribution to many services, including air traffic control. There is an increasingly likely chance that Santa Claus will not be able to enter the United States airspace this Christmas.

(NORTH POLE, EARTH) – With a half empty bottle of McCormick Vodka, a worn out hat, and a 21% charged Bluetooth speaker playing Preacher Stone’s ‘Not Today’ on repeat, a figure who could only be described as ‘not in the holiday spirit’ sat at the corner of Main and Northwest Ave Saturday morning in the North Pole Village.

“I don’t get it,” he said. “This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. What’s up with this? I don’t feel it. It’s like everyone has changed, and I’m still right here.”

The man of course, is Santa Claus.

In the past few weeks, Santa has been planning his route of flight for the iconic Christmas Eve/Christmas Morning delivery of gifts across the globe. However his plans have been dramatically altered due to the recent events surrounding the political landscape in the United States. With the federal government shutdown for the foreseeable future, Santa is unable to ensure that he and his crew of svelte and aerodynamic reindeer will get air traffic control clearance into the US airspace system.

“Basically how it works,” he paused to take a swig from the bottle. “Is that, you know, I get up to altitude, and deliver to Canada. They’re easy. All they ever want is hockey sticks and Trailer Park Boys memorabilia. Maybe a 6 pack of Labatt. Rush CDs for their stockings. You know. So I just wing it, simple. But once I cross over from Quebec City, down to Montreal, and enter the US over the area of Highgate, Vermont, I have to be on my game,” he said. “These American kids are crazy. They want every Fortnite version ever created. They want iPhone 11s. They want Subscriptions to Tinder Gold. Like, when it comes to Christmas delivery, the United States is like my superbowl,” he said. “What the fuck is an iPhone 11, anyway?”

santa ATC Memes
A radar scope shows Santa, reindeer, and sled in this 2014 file photo.

But Santa won’t be able to enter that legendary delivery ground if things persist the way they are today in the federal government: shutdown.

“I can’t go over that international airspace boundary without clearance. I have almost lost crew members over the decades because of it. One time back in like ’88, some hot shot elf who was riding along as our package fluffer, took a jetpack and tried to spook Donner, and strayed way too far south. That guy had two F-15s on him faster than an Embry-Riddle kid references Top Gun on a first date. It was scary. I have vital monitors on all my engines (reindeer). Blitzen was showing pressures of like 220/160 in the minutes after that incident, and then he began to have issues with keeping up. We almost had to commence an engine-out procedure. Luckily, he’s still with us,” Santa said, stroking what could only be described as a ‘large, firearm type object’ at his side.

We spoke to Richard Smithton, head of operations at the US FAA Command Center, to get his opinion on the matter. (actually we didn’t. We called, but nobody answered, since they’re all furloughed.)

As for whether he believes that the government shutdown will be lifted in time for Christmas, Santa shook his head in doubt.

“Look, there’s no way in the arctic that’s going to happen. They’re more likely to build a border wall with Canada than lift this shutdown,” he said, finally chuckling, his cheeks rosy with disappointment, yet, hope.

A flight progress strip of Santa, from 2013.
A flight progress strip of Santa, from 2013.

“I suppose, you know,” Santa said, looking towards the sky, “I could just set my transponder to 7700, or something,” referring to the emergency codes pilots use in order to indicate they’re having trouble. “Still, with the controllers clearly living paycheck-to-paycheck, I’m sure they’re hungry and delirious. Maybe they wouldn’t even see me enter the airspace? I just don’t know.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.