Busan Air Cruise



South Korea Opens Urban Recreational Gondola — Busan Air Cruise

After a 29 year absence, cable car technology has made a comeback to South Korea’s second largest city. East Asia’s newest urban recreational gondola was inaugurated last week on June 20 in Busan, South Korea. The city is a popular destination known for its laid back attitude, natural beauty and major events.

Coined as the Busan Air Cruise, the 66.5 billion won (US$58 million) Monocable Detachable Gondola system links Songdo Park (near Songdo Beach) to Amnam Park across Songdo Bay. The new 1.6km cable car is basically a modern version of a former 420m aerial tram which previously operated in the area between 1964 to 1988.

Unlike the old system, passengers are now taken to heights of up to 86m over four towers, two of which have been built in water. These in-water towers have deep foundations with enable it to withstand 7.0 magnitude earthquakes, tsunamis and strong winds.

Travelling above Songdo Bay. Image from Busan Air Cruise.

Guide map. Image from Busan Air Cruise.

The system operates 11-12 hours each day with a one-way journey time of 8.5 minutes. While the cable car is technically built with thirty-nine 10-passenger cabins, the operator has decided to maximize comfort by only fitting a maximum of eight passengers in each carrier.

Roundtrip ticket costs on regular cabins for adults and children are US$13.00 and US$9.50 respectively. However, ticket prices increase by US$3.50-4.50 per person for those who wish to ride one of the thirteen glass-floor cabins. During busy time periods, visitors can opt to pay two times the regular ticket price to bypass any queues. And for those who really want to ride in luxury, private cabins can be booked for US$175-210.

Aboard the Doppelmayr-built cable car, passengers enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the Yeongdo coastline, Namhang Bridge and Amnam Park. At night, the system turns into a dazzling light show.

A number of supporting attractions are also connected to the cable car. These include Korea’s first cable car museum, an observatory deck, and a Sky Swing, and much more. Interestingly, Busan Air Cruise won’t be the country’s first water crossing gondola as that title belongs to the Yeosu Cable Car built in 2014.

With the return of ropeway technology to Busan, officials hope that further economic development can take place in the Songdo, and in turn, transform the area into a tourism mecca. An estimated two million passengers are expected to ride the cable car each year.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

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