Balloon and party association BAPIA has responded to the latest reports in the UK press, which focused on the rising price of helium and the effects of the global shortage.
Both The Times and the BBC have run news stories on the issue over the past week (see the full story here), leading to John Bowler, chairman of BAPIA, issuing the following statement:
“Every industry faces challenges at some time and I am sure that our whole industry has suffered due to the current helium shortage. While I am sure that the availability will return, it is unlikely that prices will revert to where they were beforehand, but I am afraid we are not going to change that. It is more important that we spend our time and energy working on alternative ways to satisfy customer demand for balloons, to ensure the survival of our industry.
Clearly, air-filled décor is one way forward and the trend for organics has been a great help in that respect. Looking at social media we see lots of BAPIA members creating stunning air-filled décor that ultimately leads onto further requests for more of the same. Hopefully if more air-filled designs are used where possible, it will enable the continued offering of helium balloons where there is little or no alternative.
I feel that there is an element of scaremongering in the helium balloon/MRI scanner argument, as we see that new fields of helium are being located such as the one mentioned in Tanzania. While this is currently not available I feel confident that, over time, agreement will be reached to allow one of the large gas companies to tap into this resource. I also feel that, as technology progresses, there will be alternatives found for specific helium usage. Let’s also remember that the gas used to inflate balloons is NOT suitable for MRI scanners as it is impure helium and the scanners require pure helium to operate.”