Friday, 11 December 2009 5:19 PM
Travellers to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can now enjoy the experience of flying in a hot air balloon.
One of the world's most experienced hot-air balloon companies has launched flights in Abu Dhabi, offering trips over the desert.
Balloon Adventures Emirates, which also operates in Germany, New Zealand and Hungary, says its 'magic carpet ride' expeditions give passengers a unique view of a landscape which includes the huge red sand dunes and the emerald green oases of Al Ain. Passengers also have the chance to spot Arabian gazelles and wandering camels in their natural habitat.
Beginning at around 5.30am (local time) from various pick-up points around Abu Dhabi city, the flights launch from an area just north of Al Ain - around an hour's drive from the UAE capital.
"Rising early for a sunrise flight is a minor inconvenience when compared to the breathtaking views and incredible desertscapes to be seen," says Peter Kollar, director of Balloons Adventures Emirates.
"It is also the best time for flying, as the cool and serene ambience adds to the experience."
The expeditions are fully approved by Abu Dhabi's General Civil Aviation Authority and GHQ.
In addition to its regular itinerary, which lasts around five hours, the company offers exclusive balloon charter and four-wheel drive transfers. The hot-air balloon service will operate from the end of September to the end of May.
"This is another exciting addition to Abu Dhabi's steadily expanding tourism offering and is a great fit with our target visitor profile," says Ahmed Hussein, Abu Dhabi Tourism Association's deputy director general.
"We seek to attract people who wish to engage with the emirate and its people, and get close to it, and this offering fulfils this criteria."
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