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Balloon Aloft Launches Wheelchair Accessible Flights


Balloon Aloft has launched a new wheelchair-accessible hot air balloon flight over Wine Country. It’s the first of its kind in NSW and is a joint initiative between Balloon Aloft and Cessnock City Council made possible with support from the NSW Government.

 

The new balloon can fly between seven to ten passengers and will allow wheelchair users and people with limited mobility the chance to experience the joy of a hot air balloon flight with family and friends.


Balloon Aloft has been operating in the Hunter Valley for over 43 years. Director Matthew Scaife said launching the new accessible balloon flights was a profoundly important day for the company.


“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of a balloon flight and our new accessible balloon will make that possible for more people than ever before,” said Matthew.


Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said the balloon’s first official flight was a milestone moment for local accessibility and inclusion, which are critical components for responsible and sustainable tourism in the Hunter Valley.


“Planning and creating accessible tourism experiences like this has removed the barriers that prevented locals, families or visitors from enjoying the freedom of flight and will also help the local tourism industry become more sustainable,” Ms Moriarty said.


The balloon basket used for the new accessible flights was made by Australian ballooning manufacturer, Kavanagh Balloons and will allow people with limited mobility, including wheelchair users the chance to access the balloon basket via a specially designed door.


The basket also offers customised seating for up to four passengers and two harnesses for passengers with higher accessibility needs to ensure that all passengers are safe and secure during their flight. Wheelchair users will be able to transfer from the door of the basket to the seating using a grab handle. For those requiring more assistance, a carer or helper may be needed to join them during the flight to help when transferring in and out of the basket.


A wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus with hoist access will also be available to transport passengers to their accessible balloon flight to make sure the experience is inclusive at every point.


Balloon Aloft Hunter Valley Accessible Balloon Flights are 45 minutes to an hour, followed by breakfast at Peterson House. Tickets for the accessible balloon start from $265pp – visit www.balloonaloft.com accessible. For more information or to book your flight, call 1300 723 279.

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