Uncertain Future for Singapore FlyerThe Singapore Flyer, often scrutinised for its similarities to the London Eye in the UK, has been under pressure to continue being a financial viable tourist attraction.
Since opening on 15th April 2008, selling 1 million tickets in the first year, the Flyer has experienced a series of glitches over the last five years of operation. In December 2008, two separate occasions of bad weather and a short circuit trapped about 70 and 170 passengers respectively. Passengers were trapped for nearly six hours in the short circuit incident and the Flyer was closed indefinitely until it received the safety certification report from the Conformity Assessment Board, after which £3 million additional back-up systems were installed to the Flyer.
Further, the Flyer was shut down again on July 18th 2009 after one of its electrical cables was struck by lightning. Around 200 passengers had to be evacuated. Two days later, the Flyer reopened after repair works were completed.
The Flyer's financial problems came to light in May 2013, and after it was placed under receivership, it has since brought up alternative theories from the public on why the Flyer became a flop, which ultimately has lead to its bankruptcy. Among the reasons for its loss of financial viability is the challenging business environment, the location of the wheel and not being in the vicinity of any other tourist draws.
A spokesperson for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said that they "had been closely engaging the various parties involved to ensure the best possible outcome that enhances the tourism sector." Merlin Entertainments, the UK firm behind the London Eye, has recently abandoned the idea to acquire the $240 million Flyer attraction; originally wanting to expand their presence in Asia with this deal.
In 2008 the Flyer had an optimistic future, with the Chairman, Mr Florian Bollen proudly saying that "as the world's largest Giant Observation Wheel, Singapore Flyer stands for Singapore's vision to progress into the future on the highest levels." It just shows that what can seem like a good idea at the time, will not necessarily yield long term results.