Saturday, 4 May 2013

More news - Balloon flights resume - Luxor Forum - TripAdvisor

The person who posted this is actually a balloon pilot herself, I know her well and it is good to get her take on things,

Balloon flights resume - Luxor Forum - TripAdvisor: Just an update from the UK balloon pilot who occasionally flies with friends who pilot in Luxor...Well passenger flying has resumed as at last week. Of the original 8/9 balloon companies operating before the accident, only 5 of them have been allowed to start operations again. This follows the Egyptian CAA investigating each of these companies & examining their equipment. The 5 allowed back are Magic Horizon, Alaska, Hod Hod, Sindbad & Dream. The company whose balloon crashed - Sky Cruise - is evidently not on the list. As to the CAA inquiry into the accident itself, there is still no final report or indeed any word about its findings. Meanwhile the CAA has now insisted on introducing a new form which every passenger must sign after they've attended each company's safety briefing & before they fly. I've not yet managed to see a copy of this but it sounds like some sort of indemnity form which is intended to make passengers aware that accidents can happen & that injuries may occur. My only advice is - always read anything carefully before you sign it - &, as I' ve always maintained when writing about ballooning in Egypt, ensure your own travel insurance covers you for this activity (as many don't). Never take a flight without being fully insured - don't ever rely on the balloon company's insurance or any travel agent involved - always have your own travel insurance in place. Meanwhile the main holiday companies operating in Luxor - people like Thomson, First Choice & Kuoni - as far as I'm aware, are not recommending any balloon companies & offering to arrange flights like they used to. All bookings must be made with the balloon companies in Luxor directly.

Finally the cause of the terrible accident remains pure speculation as to how the fire broke out in the basket. But the bottom line is that a balloon is only as safe as its maintenance schedule or the pilot flying it.... We still wait to hear more. If anyone needs any more information I'm happy to answer personal messages - but all the above is about the extent of my knowledge at the moment.

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