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It's official: Santa fit to fly

graphic
 

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- You better not pout, you better not cry -- Santa Claus has been cleared to fly.

Declaring the jolly old man "exceptionally fit, as well as joyfully willing and uniquely able" to pilot his sleigh, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater signed an order on Friday granting Santa a flight certificate for the night of December 24-25.

The Department of Transportation said Santa had presented several million letters from children around the world in support of his application.

"In these circumstances, it appears that a grant of the applicant's request is in the highest public interest, and so we have moved forward expeditiously on his request," the department said.

Before issuing the certificate, Slater inspected Santa's sleigh and proclaimed it fit for travel. Slater noted that although the sleigh is of a very early vintage, Santa holds safety as a top priority, and "has presented a safety record as pure as the driven snow and a service history as seamless and spotless as his long white beard."

Slater also said Santa has a perfect on-time arrival record, having never failed to deliver all his toys by Christmas morning.

In his application, Santa described himself as a citizen of the world residing at the North Pole who performs a vital and specialized transportation service. "The points to be served are the dwelling places of good girls and boys, as well as adults of goodwill," Claus said.

Santa told the DOT that his sleigh would be powered by eight tiny reindeer. In the event of fog or heavy snow, a ninth reindeer with a special air navigation warning light in his nose may be called into service.



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