Türkiye Leads the Way in Hot Air Ballooning

Turkiye Leads the Way in Hot Air Ballooning

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, highlighted the significant advancements in hot air ballooning safety measures undertaken by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation. He noted that since 2011, there has been a remarkable increase in balloon flights, with a total of 1,202,310 domestic and international passengers flown on 301,863 balloon flights until May 5, 2024. Minister Uraloğlu further disclosed that Turkey currently hosts 67 licensed balloon operators, 6 accredited training organizations, 434 balloons, and 682 balloon pilots, with commercial passenger numbers reaching a peak of 750,000 in 2022 and an impressive 27,318 people flying in 63,615 flights in 2023.

Emphasizing the presence of 67 licensed hot air balloon companies and 6 approved training organizations in Turkey, Uraloğlu reiterated that these companies collectively possess 434 balloons and employ 682 balloon pilots. He pointed out that balloon flight activities are spread across 7 regions in Turkey, including Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Soğanlı, Çat, Ihlara, Afyonkarahisar, and Antalya, with over 80 percent of these flights occurring in the Cappadocia region. Since the surge in balloon flights in Turkey and the heightened awareness of Cappadocia began in 2011, a total of 310,301,005 local and foreign passengers have experienced balloon rides in 863,176 flights.

Pamukkale Hot Air Balloon
Pamukkale Hot Air Balloon

Minister Uraloğlu informed that the number of commercially transported balloon passengers reached a record level of 750,000 in 2022. He stated, “In 2023, 27,318 people flew with balloons in 318,615 flights. Looking at 2024, we see that 1,183 people flew with balloons as of May, despite the holiday season not having started yet. This figure indicates that we may reach a record level this year.”

Regarding the climate and wind structure in the Cappadocia region, where most balloon activities in Turkey occur, Uraloğlu continued, “In the Cappadocia region, where an average of 2,022 balloon flights have been conducted per month since 2011, an average of 500,000 passengers have been served from that period to this period. This equates to 50,000 people per year, a figure unparalleled globally. While flights to European countries such as Germany, England, France, and the Netherlands can be conducted for a maximum of 600 days a year, the closest comparison to the number of flights in the Cappadocia region is found in Kenya. Approximately 60-40 balloons fly per day in Kenya, but flights can only be carried out for a maximum of 50 days a year. In Australia and Tanzania, where commercial balloon operations are intense, the number of flyable days varies between 120 and 100 days annually.”