By Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter
TfL has announced it is searching for a new commercial sponsor of London’s cable car service as a deal with current sponsor Emirates is set to end next year.
The Emirates Air Line opened in 2012 ahead of the Olympic Games and has since seen 13 million journeys made across the River Thames between the Royal Docks and Greenwich.
TfL has said that this summer has been one of the busiest since the service launched, with around 60,000 journeys made every week and 28,000 journeys made over August Bank Holiday weekend, the busiest weekend since 2012.
But with the current commercial deal with Emirates set to end in June 2022, TfL has announced it has begun the process of finding a new commercial partner to gain naming rights for a minimum of three years.
Josh Crompton, TfL’s head of the cable car, said: “Our cable car is unique to London and it provides spectacular views for those wanting to cross the Thames to get to the Royal Docks or Greenwich Peninsula. These latest figures show that it remains as popular as ever with Londoners and visitors.
“The Emirates Air Line is an instantly recognisable part of London now and we are keen to work with a brand following our successful 10-year partnership with Emirates. This exciting opportunity will allow the successful brand to get both national and global awareness, building on the success of this unique part of the London transport network as well as feature on the Tube map.”
The project became a source of contention during the 2016 London Mayor election when eventual winner Sadiq Khan claimed it was a “vanity project” of then-mayor Boris Johnson.
Mr Khan said he would consider scrapping the cable car as part of his plans to implement a TfL fare freeze in 2016.
Though the Emirates Air Line did not meet its intended goal of becoming a valuable commuter link, it did go on to become a popular tourist attraction, providing a boost to east London’s economy.
The northern terminal for the cable car is located near The Crystal building on the Royal Docks, which will be the new home of the Greater London Authority later this year when City Hall is vacated.
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