The Thames cable car moved a step closer to carrying its first paying passengers across the river as engineers began testing the gondolas.
The load tests were taking place in a race to finish the £45 million project in time for the Olympics.
Emirates airline is sponsoring the scheme, which will link the O2 arena in Greenwich with the ExCeL exhibition centre at the Royal Docks.
Boris Johnson said the cable car was “a very important addition to the river crossings in London” but has conceded that it may not be ready to carry passengers in time for the Games, saying he will “not make promises or commitments” about its completion.
There have been suggestions that it could even be used to ferry athletes from the Olympic village to the O2, a venue for several events.
Mr Johnson said: “The speed with which we have gone from designs to safety testing of the Emirates Air Line is a clear demonstration of London’s ability to deliver world class projects and attract major investment.
“This new transport link is set to support my plans to transform east London into a vibrant new metropolitan quarter boasting new jobs, homes and enterprise.
“Londoners can now see this fabulous new feature of our city’s skyline being put through its paces before they can get on board themselves to breathe in the stunning views it will afford.”
When the project is finished it will have 34 cable cars carrying 2,500 passengers an hour. The gondolas 160 feet above the river, will run every 30 seconds and the journey will take five minutes.
Project director Matt Randall said: “We are making excellent progress on the wider construction, with both terminals and landscaping nearing completion.”
Source – http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news