§ Mr. Frank Cook
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the carriage of passengers by hot air balloons is a recognised method of carriage as defined and regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority in schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order 20, November 1989, pursuant to the Civil Aviation Act 1982; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
Hot air balloons are classified in schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order as a sub-group of aircraft, so they may be registered in the United Kingdom and flown for purposes specified under the order, including the carriage of passengers.
To carry fare-paying passengers (other than in circumstances defined in the order as being private flights) a balloon must be certificated by the Civil Aviation Authority in the transport category (passenger) as set out in schedule 3 to the order, the operator must hold an air operator's certificate and the pilot must hold a valid professional balloon pilot's licence.
There are currently 43 hot air balloons certificated in the transport category (passenger) in the United Kingdom, and 27 air operator's certificates have been granted.