ACT News

Asian Cup brings a lot of hot air to Canberra

Canberra's skyline welcomed a debutant soccer themed hot-air balloon on Thursday morning as the city prepares for the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup.

The newly built balloon, constructed with 2200 square metres of fabric and 40,000 metres of thread, was spotted above the Melbourne skyline earlier this week and will head to Sydney on Friday.

The Asian Cup hot air balloon flying over Canberra on Thursday morning
The Asian Cup hot air balloon flying over Canberra on Thursday morning Photo: Jay Cronan

Kiff Saunders, managing director of Global Ballooning Australia and owner of Skywhale, said the balloon was built in Spain and rushed to Australian in time for the Asian Cup.

"This balloon was purpose built for the tournament and given Canberra has a rich ballooning history we knew this would be a great place for it to fly," he said.

The Asian Cup hot air balloon flying over Canberra on Thursday morning
The Asian Cup hot air balloon flying over Canberra on Thursday morning Photo: Jay Cronan

Mr Saunders said the soccer ball balloon, which was built by Continental Tyres as part of their sponsorship of the Asian Cup, was much easier to fly than the Skywhale.

"Skywhale is 36 metres long and has pendulous breasts which means it's a little more difficult to land," he said.

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"You don't want to be landing in the wind."

Mr Saunders said those who missed out on the Balloon's first Canberra flight would most likely see it again soon.

"We're In the process of talking about getting it back for the Canberra balloon festival," he said.

"For us the main event was the Asian Cup so when it all comes to an end on January 31 we'll have to work out what the next stage is.

"Given this is the ballooning capital of Australia, it'd be very surprising if it didn't come back for the balloon festival or at some other time."

Mr Saunders said he enjoyed returning to Canberra and being able to see kangaroos bounding underneath him so close to the centre of town.

"It's so picturesque with lots of parks and places to land. I'm always surprised by the lack of restrictions about flying over some of the embassies here," he said.