RIYADH - A hot air balloon bearing the image of King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, beside the legend “King of Humanitarianism” and the Saudi flag took to the skies above Riyadh on Thursday as it embarked on a two-year journey taking a message of peace to 52 countries across the globe.
Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah, National Guard Vice-President for Executive Affairs and Deputy Chair for the Janadriya High Committee launched the balloon, which is captained by Emirati Abdul Aziz Al-Mansouri, from Janadriya Village to the north of the capital.
The initiative for the epic voyage reportedly came from the United Arab Emirates where sources described it as motivated out of “appreciation for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ humanitarian work and his peacemaking role in the international arena” and to mark the 25th anniversary of first National Culture and Heritage Festival in Janadriya.
Sponsored by Emirates Hot Air Balloon Company, the vessel’s first leg will take in Jeddah, Makkah and Madina before venturing out across the skies of virtually every member state of the European Union, Russia, Asian countries such as Pakistan, India, China, Mongolia, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Australia, Africa and North and South America. – SG