• CAA issues Father Christmas special permissions to use drones to deliver presents down the chimney should he deem it too unsafe to do it himself  
  • There's Ho Ho Hope for all presents to be delivered this Christmas as CAA grants Santa special permissions 

LONDON, 24 December 2020: As concern amongst British families grows around the logistics of Father Christmas entering their bubbles this year, the CAA has stepped in to arrange the safe delivery of the nation's presents. Father Christmas will be issued with a special exemption to fly a drone beyond the line of visual sight. The permissions allow Father Christmas to complete his usual flight with his reindeer, but should he deem it unsafe to enter a household himself, he will instead be able to use a drone to go down the chimney, drop off presents and pick up any mince pies and carrots waiting for him.

The permissions have been granted to ensure that those households which are most vulnerable, and where social distancing is not possible, can still receive their presents this year.

Father Christmas, an experienced drone flyer, will be using the wind power generated by his sleigh to refuel his drone while on the move. This will save him from having to make multiple trips back to Lapland to re-charge, nor will he have to carry any additional drones which will add more weight to an already heavy present-filled sleigh.

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications, CAA, said: “We usually speak to Lapland around this time of the year to make sure they're up to speed on all the latest regulatory requirements when flying through UK airspace.

“We know this year we all need to come together to make sure no one, not even Father Christmas himself, gets too claus for comfort. When we found out that Father Christmas was already an experienced drone flyer, we wanted to help by issuing him special permissions to use his drone flying skills to deliver presents, while maintaining a social distance from outside of people's houses.”

To keep fully abreast of Santa's movements on Christmas Eve, the CAA is encouraging everyone to keep an eye on the 'Elf Traffic Control' portal, which has been created by NATS, the main air traffic controller in the UK who work with Santa each year to ensure his flight is as safe and efficient as possible.

Nicholson added: “While Father Christmas is being granted special permissions, we want to remind drone owners that they shouldn't be trying this at home. While, our aviation safety rules don't apply indoors, flying a drone beyond the visual line of sight elsewhere is against the law and can only be done with prior authorisation from the CAA.”

New rules requiring drone fliers to seek pre-authorisation from the CAA depending on the risk level of their flight will come into effect from 31 December. Drone fliers are being encouraged to check if they need to get authorisation the CAA website at www.caa.co.uk/drones where there is more information on the types of flight that will require authorisation and to continue to fly in accordance with the Drone Code.

Media contacts  

For further information and interview enquiries, please contact the CAA at 0333 103 6000 (08:30 - 17:30 Monday to Friday). Out of hours: 07789 745 636.

Alternatively, you can email on: press.office@caa.co.uk (monitored during office hours)