A unique new aerostat adventure launches in Rhyl, North Wales on March 11. It’s the 20th adventure launched by Zip World, which operates adventure experiences at five locations in Wales.
Skyflyer is a blimp-like balloon that takes passengers 400 feet in the air to enjoy panoramic views over the coast of North Wales and beyond. On a clear day, passengers can see all the way to Liverpool and the Wirral including the peaks of Moel Famau and Eryri (Snowdonia).
The ascent takes three minutes and the ride is accessible to wheelchair users, people with other disability needs, people of all ages, and dogs. Skyflyer is located on Rhyl beach front next to the 1891 restaurant and bar, and 30 miles from Zip World’s own hotel at Tyn-Y-Coed in Capel Curig.
The £2.5m project has created an initial 11 FTE jobs and supporting hospitality jobs through Zip Word’s partners Denbighshire Leisure who operate Rhyl Pavillion and 1891 restaurant opposite the Skyflyer site.
Zip World anticipates a significant boost to tourism in the area, with the ride attracting 50,000 visitors during the first 8 months of opening, then rising sharply to 100,000+ annually thereafter.
The aerostat’s unique design comprises a 32-metre inflated balloon that takes 6,750 cubic metres of high-grade helium to inflate. The aerostat is automatically controlled while not in operation, meaning it can face into prevailing winds even when in its moored position using a rotating platform.
The viewing platform, which is attached below the envelope, can carry up to 28 passengers at a time with a total payload of 2500kg. The maximum capacity is 112 passengers per hour, with each flight lasting around 15 minutes. Brave passengers can experience vertical views through a glass floor section that has been integrated into the platform design.
Zip World retain full UK and Ireland exclusivity and hopes to launch similar airship adventures in other locations.
Sean Taylor, Zip World founder and president said:
“When researching other commercial aerostats globally, I quickly realised that high winds seemed to be a common thread when it came to flight restrictions. The unique design and innovative technology of Skyflyer allows the safe operation in winds of up to 40 knots – this was a game-changer for me in terms of both customer experience and commercial viability.
“Equally, the fact that the operation only requires approximately 160m2 footprint means that we can operate in existing high footfall leisure developments as part of an overall tourism or leisure offer. Skyflyer is very accessible and, like many of our other attractions, has mass-market appeal. The Skyflyer attraction is of course highly visible and presents some interesting sponsorship opportunities as well. I’m also really excited about exploring ways in which we can use the viewing platform for other activities – watch this space.”
Skyflyer flights can be booked here: https://www.zipworld.co.uk/adventure/skyflyer