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What should companies consider before buying a new balloon?

21/11/2014 Jo Bailey Features

Any business that uses hot air balloons, whether for rides, sightseeing or promotion, will have to make a number of important decisions before adding a new balloon to its fleet.

New hot air balloons and the equipment that accompanies them can be expensive, so companies have to really do their sums before purchasing another craft. Not only do they need to buy equipment, but they also need to ensure they have the proper license and the right ground crew to safely land their hot air balloon.

This is why so few people have their own balloons, instead opting to pay for hot air balloon rides from reputable operators. Here is a brief idea of the considerations that such firms need to take into account:

Licenses

Hot air balloon pilots, whether they are operating privately or on a commercial basis, need to have a license. Ballooning companies will already have licensed pilots working for them, but they will need to think about whether they can operate the balloon with a current crew member, or whether they need to bring in an additional pilot.

They may even consider training up somebody new to fly the craft. However, they would then need to pay for his training and license, and commercial licenses tend to be much more costly than private ones.

Fuel

Calculating the cost of the fuel required for a hot air balloon to run is vital. Fuel is not cheap and hot air ballooning companies need to ensure that they will be able to make back the money they spend on powering the craft. If a firm already knows how much it will need for the uses it is planning, then this will be a great help.

Insurance

The cost of providing legal cover for the craft is another major factor in the decision to add a new hot air balloon to the fleet. Commercial ballooning companies need to ensure that they are not only covered for damage to their balloon, but also that their passengers are protected, which can be expensive.

Safety

Of course, the welfare issues concerned with ballooning are of paramount importance to any hot air balloon company, which is why they will spend a lot of time weighing up the pros and cons of any particular craft with safety in mind.

Not only do they need to determine the quality of the balloon itself, but they need to ensure that they have a full crew on board, who can ensure that the craft flies and lands safely. This includes a fully qualified pilot, chaser crews, and a ground crew, so it is no small decision to bring as new balloon to the commercial fleet.

Style

When all of the other points have been carefully considered, then the ballooning firm can think about the appearance of its new hot air balloon. Different colours and styles can be decided upon, with a view to impressing clients and giving them a hot air balloon ride they will never forget.

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