Cableway installations designed to carry persons are regulated by Directive 2000/9/EC. They mainly consists of funicular railways, cable cars, gondolas, chairlifts and drag lifts designed, manufactured, put into service and operated with the objective of carrying persons in safe conditions.
Safety is of prime importance and has to be guaranteed in all operating conditions. Although cableway installations may also be used in urban transport facilities, they are principally operated in connection with tourism, particularly in mountain areas, which is an increasingly important factor in the trade balances of the Member States.
In Cableways industry, there is a clear dominance of EU companies which together account for 90% of world industry with a strong presence in the United States of America and in Asia. The specialised nature of the cableways building business, the importance of investments in research and the strong safety requirements together with the "particularity" of the mountain environment, are the main obstacles for the new operators trying to enter the cableways market.
The weight of groups in the exploitation and management of cableways installations and ski domains is gaining more and more importance. As the western European market is a mature (replacement & upgrading) market, manufacturers and operators regard with high interest the emerging markets from the new Member States and Asia.