The FAA agrees to a one-year waiver for Albuquerque balloonists

The FAA is preparing a permanent solution by next March based on a risk analysis study and ongoing engagement with stakeholders currently ongoing.

The move comes after Mayor Keller sent a letter to the FAA on Feb. 14, urging them to grant Albuquerque balloonists an exemption from new rules requiring ADS-B devices on board. The mayor was joined by the governor, the New Mexico federal delegation and the ballooning community in seeking a solution.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a statement in response to the liberation:

“The economic and cultural importance of New Mexico’s rightful reputation as the ballooning capital of the world cannot be overstated. I appreciate the FAA’s work to find a solution and recognize that the Albuquerque ballooning community has worked with a dedication to safety for over fifty years. New Mexico’s local, state and federal government officials have worked together to advocate for a solution — and the real winners are the thousands who attend New Mexico and the Balloon Fiesta each year.”

Statement by US Senator Martin Heinrich:

“Albuquerque’s unique wind patterns have made hot air ballooning iconic and essential to the industry and our tourism economy. This battle was crucial in reopening airspace over Albuquerque. I was proud to work with our delegation to win this fight.”

Statement by US Senator Ben Ray Luján:

“Hot air balloons are an important part of New Mexico’s culture and economy, as evidenced at the annual Balloon Fiesta. I’m excited that this industry will continue to bring people together in New Mexico. It is critical that the FAA bring clarity to hot air balloon professionals and enthusiasts because their community makes a significant contribution to our state’s economy.”

Statement by US Rep. Melanie Stansbury:

“This is huge for New Mexico. Albuquerque is the balloon capital of the world. Balloon Fiesta and year-round ballooning is an important part of Albuquerque’s cultural fabric and economy. When we heard that a new FAA rule could threaten this iconic industry, we worked to solve the problem. I am grateful to the FAA for working to find a workable solution and to the ballooning community for bringing this to our attention – and for keeping the magic of ballooning alive in New Mexico every day!” The FAA agrees to a one-year waiver for Albuquerque balloonists

Brian Lowry

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