Hot air ballooning is practised as a sport and recreational activity but also as a commercial air service whereby licensed operators offer balloon flights to the fare paying public. The regulation of both the recreational and commercial sectors of ballooning is the responsibility of the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SA CAA) whose regulations, in keeping with international standards, distinguish quite clearly between private and commercial ballooning activities. Commercial ballooning is subject to stricter licensing requirements, maintenance protocols and inspections. Historically, the Balloon and Airship Federation of South Africa (BAFSA), although it exists primarily for the administration of recreational & sport ballooning, also took care of the interests of commercial ballooning in South Africa.
With the proliferation of Commercial Balloon Operators and also with imminent promulgation of new regulations that further seperate commercial ballooning from the sport sector, the need was felt for a sibling organization to BAFSA that would specifically represent the interests of Commercial Balloon Operators. Hence on 21 November 2010, COBASA was formed by all 10 of the Balloon Operators that were on record at the CAA as having valid and current Operating Certicicates (AOC's).
COBASA exists to promote safe, sustainable, ethical, fairly regulated, professionally run commercial ballooning for the benefit of the industry and the wider community.
All COBASA members are current holders of an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) or
represent a certificated Aviation Training Organization (ATO).
Our members are involved in all forms of commercial ballooning activities.
The business of the organisation is fuelled by the members commitment to work together to increase the benefits and uphold the rights and interests of four main segments, namely commercial ballooning companies, their employees, their clients, and the community.
We will always work in co-operation with the regulating authority and with all elements of the aviation industry, even those perceived to be our competitors
Members will always strive to work together in a balanced, integrated and honest manner and will subscribe to the COBASA Code of Conduct
We are the only organisation of its kind and we represent all Ballooning AOC's and ATO's in South Africa.