British Airways is launching the world’s first vertical cable car, which will offer passengers unprecedented, 360-degree views of the English seafront.
The 531-foot-tall British Airways i360 is formed of a tower and transparent, doughnut-shaped glass pod that fits up to 200 passengers at a time. It will open to the public on Brighton’s West Pier on Thursday, August 4.
The futuristic structure, which cost £42.4 million and took 10 years to build, was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects, the firm that developed the iconic London Eye.
While the architects hope to replicate the success of their most famous project in Brighton, the i360 already holds one accolade to its name. It has been deemed the world’s skinniest structure by the Guinness World Records, with a height to weight ratio of over 40:1, according to a press release from British Airways.
Like the London Eye, the British Airways i360 carries passengers slowly into the air, giving them time to appreciate the beautiful views as they unfold beneath. The enclosed pod, which has a 59-foot-long diameter and weighs 94 tonnes, has plenty of space for visitors to walk around as well as seating.
Here’s what the inside of the pod looks like:
And here’s a glimpse of the view from the top:
In the press release, architect David Marks described the cable car as “a modern-day ‘vertical pier’ whose purpose is simply to delight, entertain and inspire.”
While the i360 is there to give phenomenal views, it’s partly self-sufficient, designed with energy recapture technology so that, as the structure comes down, it generates nearly 50% of the electricity that is needed to go up.
The structure is also resilient, built to withstand strong wind and other weather conditions.
To celebrate the i360’s public opening, British Airways is hosting a fireworks and lighting display at 10 p.m. on August 4.
The tower is set to become a major attraction on the Brighton seafront and bring an annual profit of around £1 million to the area, according to the press release.
Tickets, which you can book here, cost £13.50 for adults, £6.75 for children over 4 (under 4s go free), and £11.25 for concessions.