PICTURES & VIDEO: Local, regional and national media have today (Monday) been given a first look at Hovertravel’s brand new hovercraft ‘Solent Flyer’, in turn allowing Islanders to see the craft in full detail for the very first time.
Hovertravel has invested in 2 new craft to replace its existing fleet during this summer. The duo, named Solent Flyer and Island Flyer, are highly innovative designs which combine enhanced ergonomics alongside weight and energy efficiencies.
The new craft will deliver these efficiencies through the latest developments in engine technology and an overall design philosophy to reduce weight across all components. There will be 2 of the latest fuel efficient, low emission, diesel engines on board with a hybrid diesel-electric drive to the bow thrusters, eliminating the need for a mechanical drive.
Passenger comfort will be improved through speedier and easier boarding, a quieter ride and better visibility. The new craft has large slow turning propellers for noise reduction, much bigger windows and powered bow ramps and steps.
Hovertravel also investigated the ergonomics of the new craft, employing leading human behaviour and design specialists, CCD Design & Ergonomics to review where people choose to sit on the craft, as well as how the customers behave during the process of getting on and off the craft.
The new craft have both now been built and are undergoing extensive trials, with the company’s pilots, crew and even cleaners all getting used to the completely new design.
Hovertravel’s managing director, Neil Chapman says:
“Our business is focused on improving the customer experience and we carefully considered how we could improve our service delivery with our new craft, using CCD’s valuable input. For example, it was this analysis which demonstrated the need for both a ramp and steps, along with handrails.
“The new craft project has extended beyond the craft with the introduction of a new uniform and refresh of the interiors of both our terminals, all adding to the transformation of the business into a contemporary, customer-centric company serving both the local communities and attracting visitors from around the world”.
The investment in the new craft has been thanks to Barclays, who have tailored a multi-million pound finance facility for Hovertravel.
“Barclays’ Relationship Management team invested over three years doing all that was necessary to understand the needs and strategic direction of our niche business, engaging closely with the company’s management team, and demonstrating an exemplary level of service, communication and support”.
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Mike Rigby, Barclays Head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics, said:
“Hovertravel has a long history operating this route. Our approach has allowed us to understand how best to support our client in what is a continually evolving sector. Our support brings benefits not only to our client but to the local economy, environment and the thousands of users of the service now and in the future.”