SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Jen Paul Schroer released the following statement regarding the restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration on Albuquerque’s ballooning community:

“We implore the Federal Aviation Administration to grant an ongoing exemption to ballooning pilots operating in Albuquerque’s Class-C airspace so those pilots can resume flights for visitors and residents alike and retain New Mexico’s profile as the Ballooning Capital of the World. Due to the FAA not approving technology for ballooning, it is impossible for ballooning pilots to comply with the FAA’s ADS-B transmitter installation requirements for Class-C airspace. Furthermore, the regulation is being inconsistently enforced, as demonstrated by the fact that the Albuquerque Air Traffic Control is the only one in the United States enforcing this regulation on air balloon pilots. This decision poses significant unintended safety and economic ramifications.”

“There are few other precious assets that define New Mexico as the premier destination for the venturesome traveler as much as our rightful reputation as the Ballooning Capital of the World. For 50 years, balloonists have safely operated in Albuquerque’s airspace throughout the year by adhering to Visual Flight Rules. Balloonists in Albuquerque cannot hope to continue providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences to residents and visitors alike without an ongoing exemption to this FAA regulation.”