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Hot air balloonists have been granted a one-year waiver in which they will be able to fly in Albuquerque airspace without having to install an advanced electronic tracking system, according to an updated Federal Aviation Administration policy released Wednesday.

The waiver, in effect through March 2023, is good news for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and local hot air ballooning companies, according to a story in the Albuquerque Journal.

“This is huge for New Mexico,” said a joint statement from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, Rep. Melanie Stansbury and Mayor Tim Keller.

“Albuquerque is the ballooning capital of the world. Balloon Fiesta and year-round ballooning are a vital part of Albuquerque’s cultural fabric and economy,” Stansbury said. “Upon hearing that a new FAA rule could threaten this iconic industry, we have been working to resolve this issue. I am grateful to the FAA for working to find a meaningful solution and to the ballooning community who brought it to our attention – and who every day keeps the magic of ballooning in New Mexico alive!”

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