Hot air ballooning to face more scrutiny, regulations


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan will announce a complete regulatory framework for hot air ballooning next week at the earliest to improve the safety of a sport that has drawn tremendous local interest in recent years, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

CAA head Jean Shen said amendments to the Civil Aviation Act will help the authorities better regulate commercial hot air ballooning and create a more favorable market environment for the industry.

A total of nine related regulations, including standardized personnel training and infrastructure, have been revised to qualify hot air balloons as civilian aircraft, the CAA said.

Under the new law, both free-ride balloons and tethered balloons — which are attached to the ground and cannot drift on the wind — will be subject to the same regulations that are applied to other aircraft.

For instance, companies providing passenger ballooning services without obtaining the proper permits could be fined NT$600,000-NT$3 million (US$20,224-US$101,120), while individuals providing the same services could face fines of NT$60,000-NT$300,000.