In the wake of Sir Richard Branson’s record breaking flights across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans a few years previously, Virgin Balloon Flights Limited was formed.
Virgin handed the torch to our highly-experienced chief pilot Kenneth Karlstrom to take the brand forward with his own company. That same year, Ken was privileged to fly the eminent theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife in a specially adapted handicap basket.
Italy welcomed Virgin Balloon Flights, with lucky competition winners enjoying the beautiful city of Cuneo, Piedmont from the air on a hot air balloon ride. Italy remains our regular winter training base and is also home to our sister company, Ballooning In Tuscany.
We took more competition winners and eight of our lovely balloons to Gstaad in Switzerland, where we were joined by the famous singer, songwriter Newton Faulkner for a sky-high gig above The Alps.
Virgin Balloon Flights hosted a sensational performance by British soul diva Beverly Knight in a hot air balloon during the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. The session and interview were filmed for Red Room – Virgin.com’s online music show.
We celebrated our 21st birthday and the milestone of having flown almost ONE MILLION happy passengers since our launch in 1994. We are the largest commercial hot air balloon ride company in the world and are the only truly national hot air balloon ride provider in the UK, with more than 100 lovely launch sites in England, Wales and Scotland. Our passion for hot air ballooning remains stronger than ever and we look forward to taking you on an unforgettable experience in the skies for many more years to come.