Living in Luxor 2018

What is it like to live in Egypt? Share your experiences of Egypt’s culture.

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Mad Dilys
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Living in Luxor 2018

Post by Mad Dilys » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:50 pm

I was talking to the family last night about there being yet another Hot Air Balloon company in operation making a total of 9 with another one in the pipeline currently in Luxor.

I'm quite concerned because nearly all the owners of these companies are not enthusiasts. Enthusiasts tend to want to know everything about the subject and take much more care than those who are only looking for profit.

At least the Egyptian CAA has put a stop to even more pilots taking a licence.

This led me to consider whether it is now the right time to gracefully retire from Hot Air Ballooning and let the cost cutters do their worst. Therefore I've been giving some thought as to what we should do instead.

Any ideas that I can pass on to the young men in our company?


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Re: Living in Luxor 2018

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:18 pm

Never went on a hot air balloon ride but they always looked lovely hanging in the air over the west bank in the early morning.

I do quite agree that people who are enthusiastic about their businesses tend to want to study the nit noid so as to fully understand, make better, improve, add or take away elements etc etc etc. If something is a mere investment it is 'there' but I doubt they're anticipating, maintaining, doing upkeeps as they may very well be naive to things an enthusiast would be very well aware of.

If there ever is or was a time if there are NINE companies now might be the time to gracefully exit the business.

Mad Dilys
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Re: Living in Luxor 2018

Post by Mad Dilys » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:36 pm

I agree - but we are responsible for 50 or 60 families we have to consider them too. :tk

Fortunately the decision is not mine, I'm merely a consultant. ;)
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Re: Living in Luxor 2018

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:59 am

Really - that many families? That is way more than I would have thought (but then I honestly haven't thought about it - just seems like quite a few)

I think being a business person is pretty difficult as there are so many things to consider. You want good employees and for them to really get as good as you can afford along with benefits but sometimes the rules are making it nearly impossible for the small business person to afford. Issues of discipline with a long term employee would also gut me - I'd never want to confront somebody if I caught them stealing from me espeically if it was a long term person. A stranger is no problem but if it was essentially a trusted employee that would be hard.

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Re: Living in Luxor 2018

Post by Mad Dilys » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:15 am

Well, eight balloons, six teams of 10 men complete with at least one passenger vehicle and a lorry plus escorts, without counting pilots soon mounts up. Some of our chaps have been with us for over 20 years. We have been a good training ground for the other companies ;)

Though I do remember the new "commercial" company that thought they were clever in poaching one of our crew to be their new chief crew and train cheap labour. Unfortunately the only chap they could tempt was our Crown Man appropriately nick-named Rambo whose job was to hold a rope at the top of the balloon as it was inflated and stop it swinging from side to side. He did this very well, but of course the bulk of the inflating envelope meant that he had no idea what the other members of the crew did. It ended up with the blind leading the blind for our would be competitors. :snig:

We don't pay more than basic salary officially - well that's as far as their families and neighbours know, but we do pay liberal bonuses and help with medical care. Passengers who want to give a tip are asked to put it in a drum and the money is counted after the flight in front of all the crew. It is shared out at the end of the month and added to their salary.

Most of the crew only work for about 4 hours in the very early morning and have other full time jobs if they can. Maintenance crew work longer hours and obviously are paid more. In the past when flying has been stopped we have either offered work on our farm for the same money if possible or half pay - after all their outgoings are still the same and we want to keep our tried and tested crews.

Stealing is very rare among the crew. The chief crew was in charge of the tips, but one started to take a bit extra and the rest of the crew dealt with him after we dismissed him. The next one thought he was clever, but a pilot noticed a passenger putting in a high denomination note, which didn't come out for the share out. (Pilot's don't share the crew's tips) The drum was examined and honey had been liberally wiped around the inside.......... and there was the bank note among others. Stealing from your co-workers is particularly bad form, but they don't get much opportunity to steal from us. However I have a rule of thumb that if you employ 13 people it's likely that one will be a petty thief so you try to avoid giving an opportunity.

We always have a waiting list of chaps that want to work for us either on the crew or in the office. I have had women work in the office very successfully, but one was definitely not a success.

I'm very grateful to have worked with such a good team.

PS If you take into account how many balloon companies there are, Hot Air Ballooning is an important part of the local economy.
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Re: Living in Luxor 2018

Post by FABlux » Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:58 am

We had many wonderful balloon flights with your company MD and have always recommended you to friends as your safety record reflects the professionalism of your team.

I wish you well finding an alternative activity if you do decide to go that route.

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