Portsmouth to Isle of Wight hovercraft services to resume

OUT OF ACTION Solent Express on its approach to Southsea
OUT OF ACTION Solent Express on its approach to Southsea
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HOVERCRAFT services are running again between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

It comes after Hovertravel was forced to stop services over the weekend because of a craft fault.

But yesterday one craft was back out at sea, with the first vessel leaving Ryde at 3.15pm and setting off from Southsea at 3.30pm.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, said: ‘The safety of our passengers, staff and vessels is of paramount importance to us.

‘Hovertravel has operated for many decades with an outstanding safety record and clearly puts safety as the number one priority.

‘I know the decision to suspend our services completely has caused significant inconvenience to all of our customers and I can only apologise to them personally for that disruption.’

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) had suspended two craft – Freedom 90 and Island Express – because of safety concerns on Friday.

The propeller of the third and newest craft, the Solent Express, snapped off on October 30, which prompted the inspection to ensure all craft were safe.

But services can now be resumed as the vessels comply with the MCA’s regulations.

A temporary revised timetable using one craft is in place until the second hovercraft has its propellers refitted.

‘There was no question of us operating until both the company and our regulatory authority, the MCA, were completely satisfied with our safety compliance,’ added Mr Chapman.

‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their patience and all of our staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the weekend, to manage this difficult situation and enable operations to resume.

‘I would also like to thank Wightlink for their help in meeting the extra demand on their services.’

Hovertravel operates the world’s longest-running commercial service.

The company was established in 1965, and since then more than 26m people have used it.

It is also the only scheduled passenger hovercraft service in Europe and is the fastest way to travel across the Solent – with the journey time being less than 10 minutes.

To get journey timetables go to hovertravel.co.uk.