Soaring high over the river between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, it has also become a destination its own right.
Standing at up to 200ft high, the bright white of the cable support towers frames the view of the glass and steel of London's skyscrapers.
Passengers are treated to a bird's eye view from the cabin of the City, Canary Wharf, historic Greenwich, the Thames Barrier and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
With a journey time of just under 10 minutes, the cable car provides easy access between The O2 and ExCeL exhibition centre, and between local communities on both sides of the river. (Flights after 19:00 are slightly longer - around 12 minutes each way - so passengers can enjoy the evening views across the Thames.)
The terminals are close to existing Tube and Docklands Light Railway services, and to bus and river boat connections.
The service is accessible to wheelchair users and cyclists and is open seven days a week.
The cable car is sponsored by Dubai-based airline Emirates in a 10-year deal, signed in 2011, worth more than £36m. See the sponsorship contract.
The project also received funding from the London 2007 to 2013 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme, managed by the Greater London Authority on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
ERDF invests in economic development projects which support eco-friendly regeneration, local businesses and create jobs.
Emirates Air Line's funding and fare structures are aimed at making sure the scheme covers its costs with no need for public subsidy.