Hot air ballooning in Luxor

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Hot air ballooning in Luxor is an aspect of the Egyptian tourist industry. Tour companies offer rides in hot air balloons to tourists who enjoy views of ancient Thebes, the temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.[1] A series of hot air balloon accidents have called the industry's safety record into question.

History[edit]

Operations[edit]

Companies began offering hot air balloon rides to tourists in Luxor in the early 1990s.[2] The balloon rides are an important part of Egypt's tourism industry.[3]

Following a 2009 crash, balloon flights at Luxor were suspended for six months while pilots were given additional training and safety measures were reviewed and improved. New regulations limited the number of balloons that could be aloft simultaneously, and restricted take-offs to a new airfield for the sole use of hot air balloons.[4]

As of January 2018, eight companies operate a combined total of 25 hot air balloons offering flights over Luxor.[5]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

The overall safety record of hot air ballooning in Egypt is poor.[4] Seven tourists were injured in a crash early in 2009.[4] On a single day in February 2009, three separate hot air balloons crashed in different locations carrying a total of 60 tourists, resulting in injuries that included broken bones.[4]

At Luxor, eight tourists were injured in 2007 when the balloon in which they were riding crash-landed in a field. Four Scottish tourists, were seriously injured in April 2008 when the balloon in which they were traveling crash-landed.[4] Sixteen tourists were injured at Luxor in April 2009 when the balloon in which they were traveling is understood to have collided with a cell phone transmission tower.[4]

The most serious accident was the 2013 Luxor hot air balloon crash, in which 19 people were killed when a leaking fuel line started a fire.[6]

After 22 Chinese tourists were injured in a 2016 balloon crash, the Civil Aviation Ministry suspended flights for three days while safety procedures were reviewed.[7]

Fifteen tourists were injured and one man from South Africa was killed in Luxor in 2018 when high winds caused a balloon's operator to lose control.[8] Flights were suspended until the unusually high winds subsided.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Calder, Alan (19 October 2002). "Trail of the Unexpected; Up, up and Away in a Hot Air Balloon for one of the most Uplifting Views of the Nile". The Independent. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  2. ^ Leadbeater, Chris (5 January 2018). "New crash highlights Luxor's dire hot-air balloon safety record – so are the trips safe?". Telegraph. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  3. ^ Rebello, Lara (6 January 2017). "Fatal hot air balloon crash could spell trouble for Egypt's recently-revived tourism industry". International Business Times. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "A recent history of Egypt hot air balloon crashes". The Guardian. Press Association. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Luxor's hot air balloon trips not affected by Friday's crash". Egypt Independent. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  6. ^ Saddique, Haroon (26 February 2013). "Egypt hot air balloon crash kills 19 tourists". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Egypt grounds hot air balloon rides over Luxor for 3 days". AP. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  8. ^ "'There were people hurt everywhere': Australians injured in Egypt air balloon crash". Sydney Morning Herald. Reuters, AAP. 7 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.