ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  The Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) has picked the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to host the 66th annual Gordon Bennett FAI World Long Distance Gas Balloon Championship. Officials say this event is recognized as the oldest and most prestigious event in aviation.

This year’s competition will launch from Balloon Fiesta Park on October 7. Teams from all over the world compete to see who can travel the furthest, non-stop from the launch site. Last year the race was held in St. Gallen, Switzerland, with the winners flying about 977 miles and landing near the Turkish border.

“We are honored to host this year’s Gordon Bennet. It is a competition that is important to the history of ballooning and celebrates some of the most skilled and courageous pilots,” Balloon Fiesta Executive Director Sam Parks said. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has hosted this competition four times; 1993, 1999, 2005 and 2008.