Santa steps off of a helicopter at Juneau International Airport for Christmas Light Flights. This year marked a triumphant return for the event which offers people an aerial view of Juneau during the holiday season. Flying time and staffing are donated by Coastal Helicopters and fuel from Petro Marine Services for the event. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Santa has landed

Usually it’s the reindeer who soar the sky during the holiday, but this time, it was a helicopter.

Usually it’s the reindeer who soar the sky during the holiday, but this time around a helicopter took Santa across a darkening Juneau night sky.

A helicopter with Santa Claus on board makes its way toward Juneau International Airport. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A helicopter with Santa Claus on board makes its way toward Juneau International Airport. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

For the first time since 2018, Coastal Helicopters in collaboration with the Flying Lions Club on Friday hosted Christmas Light Flights at the Juneau International Airport. Weather, then the COVID-19 pandemic led to a few years of cancellations.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
Santa hugs Malachi Husemann,5, during Christmas Light Flights at Juneau International Airport.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire Santa hugs Malachi Husemann,5, during Christmas Light Flights at Juneau International Airport.

The event invites community members to buy tickets to fly in a helicopter over twinkling night lights of Juneau, and this year the proceeds from the ticket funds go toward both the club and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

According to Lions Club President Shari Khalsa, the tickets sold out even before the night began, with 350 people signed up. He said they hope to raise around $7,000 during the event to donate to the charity.

“I though it was an amazing way to see the lights, I didn’t see any reindeer but I saw the mighty Mendehall,” said Santa, laughing after he landed.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Santa poses after exiting a helicopter at Juneau International Airport. He reported no reindeer sightings en route to the airport for Christmas Light Flights.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire Santa poses after exiting a helicopter at Juneau International Airport. He reported no reindeer sightings en route to the airport for Christmas Light Flights.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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