First Emirates Air Line tower completed in London

Dubai airline-sponsored cable car system making good progress, says developer

An artist's impression of the Emirates Air Line in London

An artist's impression of the Emirates Air Line in London

The first of three steel towers which will enable the Emirates Air Line, the UK’s first urban cable car, to fly passengers across the Thames has been completed.

Dubai-based Emirates Airline was named in October as the sponsor for the project in a 10-year deal worth £36m ($55.9m).

The Emirates Air Line will connect north and south London, travelling between two new stations set to be named Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks with the first passengers set to use the service prior to the Olympic Games.

According to the latest progress report by developer Mace, the first tower - the North Intermediate Tower - stands over 200ft tall and weighs 270 tonnes and is the smallest of the three towers.

It said the North Tower and South Tower are both under construction, were scheduled for completion by late spring.

The structure of each tower will enable up to 2,500 passengers to be carried across the Thames each hour in each direction, it added.

It is anticipated the Emirates Air Line will carry two million passengers per year.

The journey across the River Thames will take approximately five minutes, with 34 cabins arriving and departing every 30-40 seconds.

Each cabin will accommodate up to 10 seated passengers, and will be fully accessible to both wheelchair users and bicycles.

Operating hours and fares, including private cabin hire, are being finalised, the report said, adding that further details will be announced before the launch.

The £36m sponsorship deal with Emirates forms part of the funding strategy to recoup the upfront construction costs provided for the link and provides 80 percent of the overall construction cost.

The consortium of builders behind the project has been led by contractor Mace, whose past projects include the London Eye and the Shard, the iconic pyramid-shaped skyscraper under construction near London's Tower Bridge.

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