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Tue 19 Feb 2013 04:10 PM

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London's Emirates Air Line losing $78,000 a week

Branded cable car named after Dubai carrier has seen users dwindle since Olympics

London's Emirates Air Line losing $78,000 a week
London Mayor Boris Johnson takes one of the first rides on the Emirates Air Line. (Getty Images)

The London cable car named after its Dubai-based sponsor Emirates Airline has attracted so few passengers it is losing up to GBP£50,000 (US$77,500) a week, according to the UK's The Times newspaper.

Fewer than 15,000 people used the Emirates Air Line cable car in the week to February 2 - 4,500 less than in any other week since the service opened in June 2012, according to figures released to the newspaper under Britain's Freedom of Information Act.

With costs of GBP£115,000 a week and a top fare GBP£4.30, the service has been losing up to GBP£50,000 a week.

The US$99m cable car between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks was built in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, with the city's mayor Boris Johnson boasting it would  become a new major transport route for commuters.

Dubai-based airline Emirates contributed GBP£36m towards the project in a ten-year sponsorship deal that includes naming the cable car Emirates Air Line.

But passenger numbers have fallen by more than 80 per cent since the end of the Olympics, according to The Times. Prior to the games, held in July-August, it carried about 9,700 passengers a day, less than 15 percent of capacity.

The capital's transport authority Transport for London blamed the recent poor passenger numbers on lower tourist numbers during winter and high winds, which caused the service to be temporarily closed.

Head of Emirates Air Line, Danny Price, said patronage was in line with expectations and would increase as east London’s population continued to grow.

“As with all new transport links, the number of regular users builds over time as people become familiar with new journey possibilities,” Price told The Times.

He said while it was expected that the ride would break even “over a reasonable period of time” it was too early to predict when, Price said. Targets would be reassessed when actual volumes of use had been more clearly established.

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Lizzie 7 years ago

Come on who is going to use this in the dreadful winter UK weather? Come May and the tourist influx and hopefully less rain people will start to use it.

Mark of Zorro 7 years ago

Give us a breakdown of the weekly cost of £115,000. Maybe there are s0ome Fat Cats feeding on it.

M Metwally 7 years ago

And how much would it cost to put a bill board advertisement for Emirates Airline in this location with this height per week? All the cars have the bright red Emirates Airlines ad; don't they?
Need to look beyond operating costs.....

Abdul hafeez Sheikh 7 years ago

This investment may have been miscalculated . Now UAE and middle Eats has become prime attraction for the Tourists , and is competing with the western world due to its best infrastructure and facilities and ideal weather in winter . Emirates may have given consideration to its investment ,it is proposed thta all major investment decision may be taken by UAE Nationals rather depending upon the Western consultants who have their own limitations

Matt 7 years ago

Abdul, where does the Middle Eat?

Khawar Nehal 7 years ago

Well that is a well calculated AD by Emirates. First time I heard about it. Great value for money.

Keep up the good work Emirates.

Ever seen the plane (Airbus 380 size) full of Britons pouring out on terminal 3 in Dubai and you shall see that it is a great return on investment.


Khawar Nehal

rigol 7 years ago

You people never know, Emirates might have got few extra slots at heathrow airport which a lot of airlines waiting for by the way, by giving London some cab which am sure they dont care if its making money or not, as long as their name is well shown and their planes flying well and full to london, its no big deal for them.