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Hot air balloons allowed to carry passengers again

Credit: PickPik

Hot air balloons in Belgium have been allowed to carry passengers again since 8 June, after being allowed to fly again with a maximum of one extra person on board since May.

Hot air balloon flights were allowed again since mid-May, but only on your own or with one family member, but since Monday, when Belgium entered Phase 3 of its exit plan out of lockdown, passengers are allowed to fly again.

With the resumption of activities for balloon companies come very strict conditions, according to the Belgian Balloon Federation. “The customers all have to come from the same bubble and they have to wear face masks, just like the pilot,” Yves Lannoy of the Federation said on Radio 2.

“I understand that we have to be careful to avoid a Covid-19 infection, but we do hope that the measures can be relaxed within a few weeks, so that the experience of a balloon ride is not too heavily affected,” said Lannoy.

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“A balloon ride is about feeling completely free, high in the air, in open nature. With all those conditions, the feeling of freedom is somewhat lost,” he added.

Balloonists cannot work all year round because they are dependent on the weather, but the season usually starts around the Easter holidays, and lasts until mid-October. “Now, the season is a lot shorter, and it is even more frustrating as the weather the last few months has been beautiful,” Lannoy said, adding that it could have been some very good months, commercially speaking.

However, as a lot of people will not travel abroad this summer, they will likely look for special experiences in Belgium. “It is a unique opportunity to see your own region, and even your own garden from the air,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times