Cable Car Will Be Called "Emirates Air Line"

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 78 months ago
Cable Car Will Be Called "Emirates Air Line"

The Mayor has just announced a sponsorship deal for the Thames-spanning cable car in east London: it will be branded as the Emirates Air Line.

The 10-year deal, as you might have gathered, is with Emirates, the airline that also lends its name to Arsenal's stadium. The company has coughed up £36m for the rights, which is a little over half of the project's estimated £60m*. Remember, of course, that Londoners were originally promised that no public money would go into the scheme. The shortfall is coming from our rail budget — an area which, as we saw this week, needs some serious investment.

Rather like Barclays with the cycle hire, Emirates have also been allowed to appropriate the roundel for the cable car's logo. The announcement also included the news that the cable car route, and the Emirates / roundel logo, will also appear on the Tube map, with a 'Emirates red' streak linking the two stations. Additionally, the two stations will be named "Emirates Royal Docks" and "Emirates Greenwich Peninsula". It's not quite the first time that corporate branding will appear on the map (Ikea got there first) but it's a huge move toward sponsorship all the same. And it might not be the end of corporate sponsorship on the Tube map: earlier this year TfL very nearly cut a deal to temporarily re-brand Oxford Circus after a wine company.

For Emirates, it looks like a steal: they'll get their logo all over London for a relative pittance. Much like Barclays, in fact.

Here's a video fly-through showing how it'll work. It does look quite cool, although the video is a bit dry — we'd love those Taiwanese animators to have a crack at it.

So: what do we think about the "Emirates Air Line", and will anybody actually use it?

*We originally stated, incorrectly, that the projected cost was £57m

Last Updated 07 October 2011


I wonder how well it'll accommodate wheelchair users and people that move slowly, if it's a constantly moving thing you have to get on fairly briskly.


I'm just glad it's being built. It's needed, it's progress and I think it'll be put to good use. Personally, I think the money Emirates and Barclays have paid is fair. They're both great deals for the brands if the projects are hailed a success, but vs other sponsorship or advertising opportunities, they both come with much higher risk attached and don't provide an instant return on investment.


I wonder if this will be seen as a transport link or a tourist attraction.


I think Boris personally should cough up the balance of the cash -he's probably got enough.
If not they could sponsor him too so he could show up and say "Good morning, I'm Emirates Boris Pfeffel Johnson".


I think it's a great idea; although, will it be that relaxed in real life, or will you be forced to share cars with strangers, or have your party split into groups?

- Robin, won't they stop it for a short amount of time, as with the London Eye?


I think it's great, and while the merits of the thing being anything other than a tourist attraction are dubious, I am sure it will get lots of use; a sort of Cockney (I know not really Cockney) London Eye. I do think, though, that £36million, considering all the extra branding perks Emirates are getting out of the deal, is cheap.

Slender Loris

I would like to propose something more worthy of the name. This would be a hybrid cable-car/airship. It works as follows: a thermal or helium airship is tethered to cables anchored on both river shores. The cables run over pylons to keep them above shipping. The airship is pulled down to a landing on one side of the river. Passengers board. Cables on both sides are paid out till the airship attains cruising height (at which point the passengers enjoy fantastic views. Then the landing side cable continues to reel out while the destination cable pulls the airship across. Electricity cables placed to the tethering cables supply the airship with power for systems, lighting and climate, as well as for electric propulsion to maintain the ship's heading against the winds. Once the other side's landing is reached, the airship is pulled down and the passengers exit. Of course two ships could fly in opposite directions. 


I think that this name of Place is same not a different .


Why do we have three (inc. Orbit and O2 skywalk) ways to view the East London skyline? But only one* major place to view West London where the skyline is actually worth looking at...

Speaking of the 02, isn't that also corporate branding on the map? The Standard claimed this was the first and you rightly mention Ikea, but "North Greenwich for the 02" is unpaid corporate branding, maybe we should send them an invoice. I suppose you could also add to that list ExCel on some maps and Arsenal (even if they've now moved, that station was still renamed after them). Even Earls Court and Olympia get the benefit of having their organisation's name on the map.

Wish they'd be paying a bit more too, they're getting a lot of branding through this. But why did they have to rename the stations totally? Why Greenwich Peninsular rather than North Greenwich and Royal Docks rather than Royal Victoria. If they are too far away to have the same name, then how can you claim its an interchange. I wish they'd keep the map simple.
Not that this of course is significant compared to the fact our transport budget and increased fares are paying for this tourist trap.* = Yes there are places like the top of St. Pauls, but it isn't exactly a high capacity accessible attraction where people are going for the view and most towers are closed, restricted or not that high when it comes to public viewing platforms.


Any word on how much it'll bloody cost to ride? I find the idea of spending £4 to skip the footbridge a bit much.


There's not a tunnel here either, they are at Maritime Greenwich or Woolwich.


Why can't we have one that goes all along the Thames, as a completely new Transport system, or a mono-rail? Like on Thunderbirds!!! 


What next? Lewis's Oxford Street Underground? Westminster Station sponsored by Tesco? They should NOT have any sponsors on the tube map. Sell out...