No Clark Hot Air Balloon Fiesta for 2014, not the official one at least

Yes, there won’t be a Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Clark, Pampanga this year. That’s according to the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHABF) who’s the organizer of the longest running balloon event in Asia.

hot-air-balloon

Main reason given by PIHABF is due to lack of time to plan, prepare and book new and interesting activities. They wanted to top their 2013 event which featured more balloons than ever, the highly impressive Breilting Jet Acrobatic Team, and other flying, ground and static events. Expect them to be back bigger than ever next year on February 12-15, 2015 though.

However, this doesn’t mean there’s no hot air balloon fun this year. There will be a balloon event to take place in April 2014 but through the Department of Tourism Regional Office, The Philippine International Friendship Balloon Festival 2014’.  PIHABF will have no part on this event and disclaim any association with its management.

PIHABF also cautions would-be goers to this balloon event stating it’s not that easy to organize a safe event of this scale in such a short time. The summer weather is also not an ideal in hot air balloon safety.

Here’s the official statement of PIHABF regarding this matter.

Preparation for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is a major undertaking.

The decision not to hold a Fiesta this year was not undertaken lightly. From the perspective of the PIHABF organizers, our 2013 event (featuring more balloons than ever, the highly impressive Breilting Jet Acrobatic Team, and the myriad of other flying, ground and static events) would be a hard act to follow without allowing sufficient time to plan, prepare and book new and interesting activities.

We believe that by suspending the 2014 Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, allowing our organizing committee more time to secure a suitable venue for the fiesta and investing more time in planning, securing sponsorships and implementing enhancements, we can offer our public spectators a truly safe and world-class event in 2015.

The summer weather is not suitable in hot air balloon safety.

PIHABF will not be part of the April 2014 event in Clark, Pampanga. We will not participate in the planning, organization or staging of the event. We disclaim any association with the organization or management of the said event.

Safety concerns raised by PIHABF pending approval of CAAP for ‘The Philippine International Friendship Balloon Festival 2014’

We hope that the organizers of the April 2014 event, headed by Mr. Ronnie Tiotuico, have carefully looked into the many safety requirements and issues involved in staging an event of this scale. PIHABF is concerned that the length of time allocated for them to learn the processes and preparations for this kind of activity is too short. We also hope they are not misrepresenting their expertise in implementing an airshow to prospective sponsors, participants and especially the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The PIHABF organizers have worked hard to develop operational and safety procedures. With an admirable safety record, we have built trust with event participants and other valued partners. We value this reputation, built on a foundation of 20 years of experience.

We recognize that the balloon fiesta is an activity that the international aviation community looks forward to. Any untoward incident would impact on the good name of PIHABF organizers and damage the reputation of the Philippines.

We assure the public that we are already working hard on the planning and preparation for a bigger and even better 19th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in 2015. We are excited for everyone to be a part of it.

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