Hot air ballons take flight once again over Luxor, Egypt

Taking a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt has become a “must do” for travelers visiting the ancient temples and tombs of that region. The morning skies have often been filled with the colorful balloons as they drift slowly over the desert landscapes below. But that all changed back in April, when a balloon crashed, and the government was forced to put a halt to all flights.

The crash occurred when a pilot set off in less than ideal weather conditions and without permission from the control tower. High winds pushed the balloon off course, and it ended up colliding with a cell phone tower, before slamming to the ground, injuring the 16 passengers on board, and forcing the Egyptian Tourism Board to ground all flights pending an investigation.

This week, after six months on the ground, the balloons once again took to the air. The pilots have all gone through extensive safety training and each of the companies operating the balloons were required to introduce new safety measures as well. Furthermore, the world’s first hot air balloon airport was created not far from town, and all flights take off from that spot now.

Egypt is notoriously protective of their tourism industry, and with good reason. Much of the country’s income is based on travelers feeling safe and comfortable, and any threat to that safety can harm the industry as a whole. As a result, the government is quick to step in and enforce regulations when necessary, as was once again demonstrated here.

[via Daily Mail]