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|07 February, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: 'skyTran' connecting Abu Dhabi theme parks to begin in 2020

System will ferry guests from Ferrari World to new Warner Bros park in a minute, Mohammed Al Zaabi says

An image of the proposed Yas Island skyTran

An image of the proposed Yas Island skyTran

Yas Island/Handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya
The initial phase of an overhead rail system on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island connecting two major  theme parks will be launched in 2020, the chief executive of the island’s master developer has said

“The first phase of this innovative transport system will connect Ferrari World Abu Dhabi with Warner Brothers and will be operational in 2020,” Miral Asset Management’s CEO Mohammed Al Zaabi told Zawya in an interview on the sidelines of a UAE Innovation Month event held in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

“It will take around one minute only to move from Ferrari World Abu Dhabi to Warner Bros, and the interesting part is that the entire commute happens indoors,” Al Zaabi added in Arabic, stating that it is a first-of-its-kind idea to be implemented worldwide.

In 2016, Miral had signed an agreement with skyTran Inc., a California based company, to launch a study for the implementation of a personal rapid transit system (PRT) on Yas Island.

“The transport is point-to-point, with no stops, so it is very fast connecting theme parks to each other and to hotels within minutes, and all units include indoor air-conditioning,” Al Zaabi added.

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“Each transport unit fits for four people only. So it is a form of public transport, yet with privacy,” he added.

The system will have cars zipping along magnetic lines above traffic to connect several destinations on the island in an energy-efficient manner, and the final phase of the project aims to link the island with Abu Dhabi International Airport, according to the 2016 statement announcing the agreement between Miral and skyTran.

While the CEO declined to disclose the cost of the transport plan, he said that the operational cost is small when compared to other solutions.

Miral Asset Management was set up by the Abu Dhabi government in 2011 to develop Yas Island into a major tourist destination. The island is now home to several leisure and entertainment attractions including Yas Waterworld, Yas Mall and the Formula 1 Grand Prix Yas Marina Circuit. 

“In 2016, we announced our Vision 2022 through which we aim to attract 48 million visits to the island, to launch four theme parks, and to increase the hotel rooms from 2,500 to 4,000 in 2022,” Al Zaabi said.

The CEO also confirmed that Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi, a 1.65 million square foot indoor theme park will be opening this summer, but declined to specify the exact month of the launch.

A fourth park underway at Yas Island is SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. It is expected to open in 2022, and to be the first SeaWorld outside the United States.

“At Miral, we always strive to develop innovative ideas to visitors. We now live in a constantly evolving and accelerating world, so innovation plays a key role to be at the forefront,” he added.

(Reporting by Nada Al Rifai; Editing by Michael Fahy)

(nada.rifai@thomsonreuters.com)

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© ZAWYA 2018

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