By Cyrielle Bouju
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Reopened in January 2015, after a year and a half of permit issues, Abyssinia Ballooning is back on track and is offering customers the astonishing chance to discover the earth from above.
To enjoy an incredible adventure, you need to make some small sacrifices. The one obligation coming with a balloon ride is to wake up really early. On a Sunday morning, at 4:30 am, I am all set and ready, waiting for my ride. Five minutes later, my cellphone rings and I can hear the strong and deep voice of Bram van Loosbroek on the other end of the line.
“Hey, where are you?! ”
Bram, Dutch, tall and loud, is definitely one of a kind. Almost four years ago, after twenty years spent as a pilot in his own country, he made a life-changing decision to come to Ethiopia and create the first and only ballooning business in the country.
“The journey has been long and bumpy; the road had real deep downs but I had to keep fighting for my team. I am proud to say that I managed to keep them hired even during the year and a half of closure we just went through. I also got support from some amazing people and companies like Zemen Bank. They helped us fund the structure and we are now happy to fly with their balloon,” he says. “It’s a win-win situation; they use it for client relationship management and also for promotions.”
Considering that the price of a hot-air balloon reaches up to a million birr, it sure was important for the Dutchman to find some good partnerships!