Mt Buffalo Skyways

Aerial Delivery Systems

Operators of various aerial delivery systems around the world use a number of technical terms in describing their systems. This definition of terms is supplied to help you understand the expressions.


 Gondolas are enclosed passenger pods usually seating 6-10 people. The gondolas have seats on two sides and are carried by a moving steel cable up mountains to high vantage points in order to give spectacular views during ascent and descent. Here is a picture of gondolas passing one another at Cairns.


Cable Cars

A cable car usually holds many more people than a gondola, with the latest cable cars being able to carry up to 100 people on several decks. In general, the bigger the cable car, then the bigger the support towers. This picture shows a cable car in Switzerland.



Funiculars operate on a ground track and usually carry more people than gondolas because of their high establishment cost. They usually operate in extremely busy tourist snowfields. This one is at Mount Cairngorm in the Scottish snowfields.


Jig-Back Tramways

This is another name for a cable-car system. The expression is often used by the larger international builders of systems. Here is a double-deck jig-back tramway established at one of the French Alps most popular holiday resorts – La Plagne Ski Resort near Mount Blanc.


Rotating Tramways

Here is the world’s largest rotating tramcar at Palm Springs in southern California, USA. It has the second steepest vertical cable rise in the world. At the top visitors can experience 40 kilometres of hiking trails, enjoy the luxury of a three-story dining facility, or go camping.


Transit Stations

At Transit Stations customers shift from one gondola line to another. At this intermediate transit station in Cairns, visitors can also go for walks nearby and visit spectacular viewing decks. This transit station is next to a waterfall.


Ground Stations and Terminals

Ground stations often have theatres, souvenir shops and cultural or ecological centres. This is the attractive ground station entrance to the Cairns Skyway. The arrival stations are usually called terminals. In some parts of the world there are different terminals once the top plateau is reached – one for tourists and one for more active visitors.