Emirates today opened an interactive aviation experience underneath its Air Line cable car in North Greenwich.
The London attraction, which includes aircraft simulators and educational displays dealing with all aspects of aviation, was unveiled by Mayor Boris Johnson and Emirates CEO Tim Clark.
Speaking at the opening, Johnson said: “The Emirates Aviation Experience is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of technological wizardry and gizmos that will give people of all ages a real insight into the wonders of flying.”
The main draw of the attraction - which Business Traveller first reported in June (see online news, June 12) - will be four flight simulators, including two A380 superjumbo cockpits and two B777s.
The rest of the attraction consists of interactive and educational displays, including:
- A Rolls Royce Trent 800 jet engine partially built in Lego and a virtual wind tunnel application, allowing guests to play around with the aerodynamics of an aircraft wing and the effect it has on lift, drag and efficiency
- A touchscreen game explaining the complex elements of the turnaround process of an A380, where guests must beat the clock unloading and reloading passengers, luggage, fuel and food
- A 3D cinema showing a bag’s journey through the complex underground handling system at Dubai airport and onto the plane
- A replica of Emirates’ A380 economy class seating, with a range of aviation themed videos displayed on the seat back screens
- A scale mock-up of the A380 cockpit showing what a pilot does in the air, including a photo opportunity in the captain’s seat which can be shared on social media
The launch did inevitably turn to the ongoing issue of London’s airport capacity, with Clark and Johnson agreeing that something needs to be done fast, as the capital has both serious short and long-term aviation capacity issues.
Johnson said: “The message for the government is, whatever you decide about those runways, get on with it, because Britain really can’t afford to hang around.”
Getting back to the matter at hand, he added: “I hope very much that members of the cabinet will be the first to take their kids, or come themselves and enjoy this fantastic experience.”
Clark said: “It’s a decision that has to be taken very quickly, you’re doing yourselves no favours by dilly-dallying and also contemplating projects that have timelines that possibly won’t do the job in the short term.”
Johnson reiterated his belief that the only viable solution is a four runway hub airport: “Let’s be clear, you could cause untold misery in the western suburbs of London and do it at Heathrow. I think that would be completely the wrong solution for our city and for our country because, basically, I don’t think a four runway solution is deliverable there.
“Therefore the logic dictates you look at other sites. Stansted could be very good, TFL thinks, the outer estuary has potential but it is quite a long way out, and the best solution that my guys see is the Isle of Grain site, which brings enormous regeneration benefits as well.
“The timeline of building a third runway at Heathrow is not particularly fast, you’re lucky to get that in by the late 2020s. If you got going now, with urgency behind a proper long-term solution you could get it in the same time span.
“It’s not a matter of engineering, it’s not a matter of money, it’s a question of political will.”
The Emirates Aviation Experience also houses a gift shop, cafe and outdoor dining area underneath the Air Line cable car and leading down to the river.
The attraction will be open daily from 0800 to 1900 from July 6, and has a capacity of around 120. It is located next to the Greenwich Peninsula terminal of the Emirates Air Line cable car. The closest underground station is North Greenwich.
The simulator experience will start from £45 for a 30-minute slot, when booked in advance online. Entrance to just the Emirates Aviation Experience will be £3 for adults and £1.50 for children under the age of 12.