New hovercraft service from Southsea to Ryde is suspended

The  Solent Flyer at her launch in June last year ''Picture: Sarah Standing (160922-3024)
The Solent Flyer at her launch in June last year ''Picture: Sarah Standing (160922-3024)
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A SPATE of faults has prompted a travel firm to withdraw two of its Southsea hovercraft from service until further notice.

Hovertravel has suspended services on The Island Flyer and Solent Flyer amid on-going technical issues which has blighted the vessels, each worth £5m.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel said the company is doing all it can to resolve the issue ''Picture: Sarah Standing (160922-5082)

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel said the company is doing all it can to resolve the issue ''Picture: Sarah Standing (160922-5082)

The hovercraft began running between Southsea and Ryde last summer.

Since being launched, the Island Flyer has suffered an engine breakdown.

Hovertravel said its Island Express craft and Freedom 90 vessel – which are almost 30 years old – have been brought back into service to operate the route.

Both the Island Flyer and Solent Flyer are expected to remain out of action until at least October, the company has said.

In a letter to customers, the firm’s managing director Neil Chapman said Hovertravel was working with its overseas supplier on a ‘development programme of the propellers of both these craft’.

He added: ‘We appreciate the introduction of Solent and Island Flyer has taken considerably longer than expected, but please be assured that the developments we are working through all have solutions, and the company remains committed to running two craft for your use.’