FREDERICTON -- The COVID-19 pandemic has let the air out of plans for a record-breaking transatlantic balloon flight from New Brunswick to France this summer.

A British couple had planned to fly from Sussex, N.B., to France some time between mid-June and early August, but now say the pandemic has forced them to delay their plans until next year.

If successful, Deborah Day would become the first woman in command of a transatlantic balloon crossing, while Mike Scholes would become the first blind crew member on such a trip.

In a statement posted on their website, the couple says bad weather in Europe in January and February delayed their plans for a test flight in Germany, and by the time the weather had improved, the pandemic had taken hold.

The couple from Sussex, U.K., have been planning the flight for six years.

They say they now intend to launch from New Brunswick sometime between Mid-June and early August 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020.