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Hovertravel have apologised to customers for recent reliability issues experienced on their Ryde to Southsea service, which seem to mainly be around engine problems with both Solent Flyer and Island Flyer.

Passengers were faced with a number of delays and cancellations between Wednesday 18th and Wednesday 25th July with a one-craft shuttle service being run on multiple occasions.

Neil Chapman, Managing Director of Hovertravel yesterday (Thursday) wrote a lengthy email to customers to explain the issues faced and give reassurances of the company’s actions taken.

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In his email, Neil said:

“As you can note most of the issues we experienced were related to the engines of the craft, something we had not experienced before. That said, I appreciate after speaking to many of you wanted to understand what measures we have taken to improve the situation witnessed over last week with many observations, outside the technical issues.

“Following a urgent Senior Managers Meeting, attended by all including our Head Of Operations, Fleet Captain & Engineering Director, we have as a team identified some key actions, other than achieving a 100% reliability, to include and not limited to:

Engine support contract: We are meeting with the engine supplier, to ensure that their services meet the expectations of ourselves and our customers.

Engineering: Working closely with other suppliers to ensure they provide the support needed.

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Service Status Information: To improve the consistency of the information provided, across all departments and electronic methods.

Priority Line & Groups: When we have a one craft shuttle, ensuring the priority is as it’s intended.

Compensation: Ensure the recently agreed compensation scheme ‘if you wait we will pay’ is applied consistently across all times and you receive these.

Statistics: Produce and share reliability statistics, to give the overall reliability for the week & month, but also the ‘peak commuter’ periods”.

Explanation of the issues faced: 

Wed 18th July – Afternoon Engine Issue on Island Flyer
Friday 20th July – All day Engine issue on Solent Flyer
Monday 21st July – Afternoon Precautionary checks due to Engine Alarm
Tuesday 22nd July – Afternoon Skirt damaged during crossing
Wednesday 23rd July – Morning Engine Issue on Solent Flyer

Neil went on to say:

“In addition we have set up an Improving Reliability Plan, and the senior members of each team will be meeting every work day to review the performance of the services, understand any issues and implement any required corrective and preventative action immediately”.

For the next few weeks, to ensure full disclosure and improve consistency of communication, Hovertravel will be issuing a Hovertraveller Update every Thursday to keep customers updated on progress on the issues raised.

In concluding his email, Mr Chapman said:

“Clearly we have considerable work to return our reliability after this week but rest assured this will be undertaken by all the team and myself.

“I would though like to say how grateful I was for the many complements I received as to our staff. Many of you asked for senior managers to be on duty, and further to this request a few months ago we have appointed 3 Duty Managers (Scott, Brett & Terri) who all have the autonomy and support from myself to take the required decisions, and whilst I will always be available for you all – these DMs are appointed to assist you as required in the terminals.

“Finally, I appreciate the last few days have been unacceptable and thank you for your patience, rest assured our teams and I are focused on resolving the issues we faced. My sincere apologies to you all affected by the recent events”.

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