Australia Bound

A lot has happened over the past few weeks. I applied and was approved to be able to have two New Zealand passports. It was a relief as now one passport can be left at an embassy and the other one can be used for travelling. One can stay with me at all times.

Another recent success was getting global insurance cover for the balloon. This was a long and drawn out process after being told a number of times by insurance brokers it wasn’t possible to be issued in this part of the world. I also spoke to insurance brokers in Europe and the USA. All of them told me that there was a way to get it, but would be complicated which would involve arranging a balloon lease agreement with a company or resident of the issuing country. They would then need to insure the balloon on behalf of me. I wasn’t satisfied with this option, so decided to call the Head of Aviation for Allianz in London. He was very helpful and said would see what he could do to help out. Ten days later, the insurance was organised. It was a big relief and I am very grateful to Henning Haagen of Allianz in London.

The final flight of the balloon in New Zealand was last week. I flew a reporter and cameraman from the TV show, Seven Sharp. We had a nice and quick flight, (the wind was around 20kts at 1000ft) and flew around 40mins. It will feature on the show next week, (I’m not sure which day yet).

The Carnet de Passage for the balloon was issued last week. It was relatively easy to organise, but many things needed to be clarified given the slightly complicated nature of the project. It involved quite a few phone calls, e-mails and visits to the Wellington Employer’s Chamber of Commerce. They were great to deal with and now with the carnet, it will make the importing and exporting of the balloon between countries much easier, (hopefully).

I have sorted out the shipping for the balloon from New Zealand to Australia with the help of DB Schenker. The balloon had to be cleaned thoroughly to avoid the wrath of Biosecurity in Australia. A few hours one afternoon cleaning everything out with the help of a couple of friends. A truck will come to pick the balloon up tomorrow morning and it should be on a flight to Australia on Friday.

I leave for Brisbane, Australia on the 30th of January. While there, the truck will need to be checked that it has arrived safely from Holland, and the balloon from New Zealand. Quite a few supplies, tools, etc will need to be bought for the big trip ahead. I head to Turkey on the 4th of February before returning to Australia on the 17th. I have been working with UNICEF Australia on school visits in the Brisbane and Sydney areas. I have also been approved to attend the balloon festival in Canberra, and after Australia, the balloon festival in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I’ll be working with UNICEF Malaysia and the festival organisers to discuss what we can do there.

I will update the blog more often given the growing number of  happenings with the project. I hope to do a post at least once every couple of weeks, becoming at least once a week in March. Stay tuned for more news soon.

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About the author: Andrew Parker

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