Dubai-based Emirates Airline was on Friday named as the sponsor for London's new cable car river crossing - to be known as the Emirates Air Line, 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.
Scheduled for completion in summer 2012, it will offer commuters and visitors majestic aerial views as they travel across the Thames and provide a much needed additional river crossing.
With a capacity to carry up to 2,500 people per hour in each direction in the peak, equivalent to the capacity of 30 buses per hour, the Emirates Air Line will be the first of a package of measures to improve river crossings in east London.
It is anticipated the Emirates Air Line will carry two million passengers per year.
The sponsorship deal secured by the Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) will see Emirates provide significant private sector investment.
Johnson said: “This multi-million pound deal is tremendous news for London, helping us to deliver a new addition to the city’s skyline. The Emirates Air Line will be an exciting and innovative mode of transport easing travel for thousands and offering spectacular bird’s eye vistas of our majestic Thames.
"The UK’s first urban cable car will also act as a vibrant catalyst for the further regeneration of east London helping to attract jobs and investment for the benefit of Londoners.”
Creating a direct link between the O2, Europe’s biggest entertainment venue, and ExCeL, the UK’s largest exhibition centre, the cable car will play a key role in providing local communities access to a range of entertainment, job and leisure opportunities that are set to become available as part of a regeneration of the area, he added.
Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline, said: “The Emirates Air Line will take off as an iconic landmark for London. We are always looking for new ways to support the communities we serve and what better way than to bring this ground-breaking transport scheme to residents and visitors alike.”
The announcement of the sponsorship agreement comes after an open and competitive process by led by TfL.
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.
Work to construct the Emirates Air Line has begun with the foundations to build the two stations, Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks, now complete.
The steel towers which will hold up the cable line are currently being fabricated into giant helix components ready for installation on site.
Over the next few weeks building of the stations sub-structures will start to form the shell of the new stations that will welcome passengers once the Emirates Air Line opens for business next year.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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