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Hovertravel have announced that they are to operate a 1-craft service until 28th February, resulting in the cancellation of 14 crossings a day.

Solent Flyer and Island Flyer, the 2 new craft in the fleet are approaching a combined total of 2,000 operational hours with a number of areas of improvement now identified. As a result of the improvements that need to be undertaken, both craft will be worked upon at Ryde and Woolston near Southampton meaning Hovertravel will not have the use of these craft on a continuous basis over the coming weeks.

The cross-Solent operator’s management team have decided that the aging ‘Freedom 90’ hovercraft will continue the Ryde to Southsea service. Unfortunately, her sister craft ‘Island Express’ is currently laid up and will not be ready for service for several weeks whilst additional parts are purchased.

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With just 1 craft operational, Hovertravel have reviewed the timetable they can offer customers. Therefore, for a temporary period, Hovertravel will be operating a 1-craft timetable until Tuesday 28th February.

The following crossings have been cancelled:

  • Mon – Fri from Ryde 07:30, 08:00, 08:30, 16:00, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30
  • Mon – Fri from Southsea 07:45, 08:15, 08:45, 16:15, 16:45, 17:15, 17:45

Any passenger booked on any of the above services are asked to book on an alternative crossing or be on a priority standby. Any passengers not affected by the cancelled services are asked to be mindful and use their booked time.

If you are booked on a cancelled service as listed above, and are unable or do not wish to transfer to an alternative service, Hovertravel will refund all Wightlink costs from Ryde Pier on production of your receipts – in addition they will offer a complimentary apology voucher for each alternative journey taken. Customers should approach cashiers or scan your receipts to [email protected] (this is for the period and on the services listed above only and to qualify you must have a reservation on a cancelled service).

A priority line will be implemented for all season, travel card and company ticket customers between 05:50-08:45 and 16:20-1745 (Ryde) and 15:35-18:30 (Southsea), similar to what you may have seen at the Festival times.

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Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel Ltd has said in a statement:

“I have over the last few months sent several apologies as to the current situation and continued delays you have experienced, and whilst I would like to continue to sincerely say how sorry I am for the issues you have faced, I wanted to take this opportunity to advise of the plans and actions we are undertaking to resolve the issues we are facing.

“It’s clear to us all the implementation of the two-new craft has had several operational issues, and whilst these are resolvable it’s taking considerably longer than we had planned. In addition, we are managing the continued use of the existing craft. Both issues have been discussed today in a management & staff review.

“The company’s objective is to always offer the 15 minute service that so many of you use. In the event the craft are serviceable and available for use, we will re-instate and operate the cancelled crossings at short notice. This will be advised, where possible via our service status or via email updates, although these may be at short notice.

“During the period of the revised timetable you may be travelling on any of our craft during this time as we carry out this important work across our fleet. In addition to this, you may see other craft at sea on trials.

“I would also add, the company has invested in additional resources with a Project Director joining us from Griffon Hoverwork to work alongside our teams to resolve and implement the new craft for the future of the business. I must stress, Hovertravel is totally committed and all the issues we are facing have solutions.

“Once again, I am personally sorry for the inconvenience these issues have caused your daily travel plans. Rest assured, all the staff at Hovertravel are totally committed to resolving the current situation and ask for your understanding during this time. I will be in touch on 21st February with an update on our progress to revert to the 15 minute timetable with 2 craft”.

The troublesome new ‘Flyer’ hovercraft seen approaching Ryde pad

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