Yeah this place looks insane but I can't help but feel very skeptical of Falcon's Flight. Until I see track on site I doubt that ride will get off the drawing board.
In this region, projects like this have a tendency to get slightly
off the drawing board and then crash completely. They could pour footers and start building the station, then ask for investor money to complete the project, and then the investors take two glances at the expected costs vs. returns, say "nah", and the whole project is abandoned. It has happened to more skyscrapers than I dare count (including three
attempts to beat the world record), it has happened to most of the man-made islands, it happened to a whole slew of smaller-scale residential projects, and it happened to ... *(checks notes)* ... pretty much every international brand theme park in the UAE. Everything looking on schedule until construction starts, and then the project runs out of money and has to close down.
Falcon's Flight in particular has red flags all over it. That lifthill climbing up the cliffside would itself be more expensive than any coaster out there. The tunnel with the drop through the cliff would be more expensive than most parks
out there. A near-vertical tunnel through shallow rock, through a cliffside with no road access? That's the sort of engineering projects that require eight- or nine-figure sums to deliver. A heck of a lot of money to spend on one coaster with a rather narrow appeal (most riders apart from white-knuckle thrillseekers would turn away at the gate for a coaster with those stats), and you can only imagine the attendance figures it needs to draw to even out the maintenance costs.
Speaking of, how many people would realistically visit anyway? It's a park in the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia
. They're fighting a steep uphill battle against the climate and political reputation of the place, so the natural limit to realistic attendance figures would be quite low. Just consider how much the parks in Dubai struggle to attract customers - and those are air-conditioned indoor parks in the middle of the biggest tourist hotspot in the region, within an hour's drive of around ten million people and heck knows how many tourists. I'd be surprised if Six Flags Qiddiya managed to match the attendance figures of, say, Motiongate or Legoland Dubai. Even if it gets a record-breaking coaster. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has one of those, and it's not among the 20 most attended parks in the Europe-Middle East region according to the TEA report. A cursory Google search suggests it receives about a million visitors per year. Dubai Parks and Resorts saw around 2.8 million visitors in total in 2018
. Across three parks. That's roughly the same figures as Legoland Windsor, and less than Gardaland. Half as much as Efteling. What reason is there to believe Six Flags Qiddiya will fare any better?
The question I expect somebody to raise at some point regarding Falcon's Flight is "what benefit is there to building it this
big?" The coaster adds only marginally to the tourist appeal of the place, but brings enormous costs. It would be vastly
cheaper to build a conventional Hyper, or even a Giga, for approximately the same tourist draw. As long as they stay away from that cliffside tunnel they will save multiple fortunes no matter what, really. A height of 75 meters would be sufficient to claim the title of "tallest coaster in mainland Asia", but they could go all the way to 100 meters and claim "tallest gravity-driven coaster in the world" if they really wanted to splurge. The cost savings compared to that ridiculous cliffside contraption would still be enormous, and the impact on attendance figures hardly noticeable. The world's fastest coaster doesn't draw more than a million visitors per year to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi (about as many as Kristiansand Zoo and amusement park, a place you've never heard of). I doubt it would work any better in Qiddiya. They might as well not
build the world's fastest coaster, save a fortune, and the gate figures would probably be approximately the same.
Or in other words, "why spend a billion dollars to draw 1.28 million guests every year, when we could spend 50 million and draw 1.22 million?" If I were an investor into the project, that's probably the first question I'd ask.