Source: Eurowings

  • Holidaymakers will also be able to regularly travel the popular route from Dusseldorf to Palma de Mallorca in a hot air balloon

Ballooning instead of flying: Eurowings is expanding its range to include a very special way of travelling. With the start of the summer school holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia (from 8 July 2024), holidaymakers will also be able to regularly travel the popular route from Dusseldorf to Palma de Mallorca in a hot air balloon. Germany’s largest holiday airline is primarily aiming to counter growing capacity bottlenecks on the air traffic routes to Mallorca. The more than 420 weekly connections offered by Eurowings to Europe’s most popular sunny island in the summer were almost fully booked well before Easter.

As further aircraft are not available from Airbus or Boeing at such short notice, Eurowings decided to expand the so-called “Palma Shuttle” – also to put more pressure on the two major aircraft manufacturers. With this step, the Lufthansa Group airline can also meet the rapidly growing demand for extraordinary travel experiences. The new service makes it possible for passengers to experience the picturesque landscape on the way to Mallorca from a completely new perspective.

“With the expansion of our Palma Shuttle, we are setting an example for innovation and a spirit of adventure. We are delighted to be the first airline in Europe to offer our customers this unique way of travelling,” says Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof. “Travelling by hot air balloon is a fascinating and thoroughly romantic way to make the journey an unforgettable experience – even if the journey to Palma de Mallorca takes a little longer than by plane.”

Lars Redeligx, CEO of Flughafen Düsseldorf GmbH, is delighted: “A pioneering idea that is finally having its moment! During the Covid pandemic, we had already made initial plans for balloon flights at the airport but had to put them on hold for the time being for cost reasons. Now we can finally realize them. Ballooning simply fits perfectly into our strategy of being an excellent, exemplary sustainable airport. This makes us the first major airport in Germany to put a vertiport into operation – right next to the helicopter landing pad of the state police. If successful, I can imagine an expansion to domestic feeder flights within Germany.”

Five hot air balloons expand Eurowings fleet

To enter the new business segment, Eurowings has ordered five hot air balloons and optioned ten more. The vehicles not only have powerful burners, but also two newly designed engines – specially developed for Eurowings – which can significantly speed up journeys with the colorful giants on long-haul routes. Initial test flights with the “Burgundy Dreams” balloons have shown that the journey can be completed in six to eight hours, depending on weather conditions. The balloon baskets are expertly hand-woven and can comfortably accommodate up to twelve passengers – pilot’s bar included.

All necessary permits and licenses for the expansion of business operations have already been obtained. As with conventional Eurowings aircraft, regular inspections and maintenance are also carried out on the balloons to ensure that they are in perfect condition at all times.

Eurowings balloon flights are operated by experienced and qualified pilots who ensure the safety and comfort of guests. Eurowings has posted a corresponding job advertisement for the expansion of the pilot corps on the career portal today.

Flight times vary depending on the weather

As balloon flights are highly dependent on the weather, passengers will be advised of the necessary flexibility at the time of booking: Flights will be offered on Mondays and Thursdays; however, it cannot be ruled out that they will have to be postponed if conditions are unfavorable. The balloon flights will be available for booking as of 24 April on the Eurowings homepage, with prices starting at 599 euros (one-way).