Bid for new hover link from city is shelved

Have your say

PLANS for a new Hovercraft link to the Isle of Wight have been shelved.

Hovertravel has been forced to halt its plans to operate a cross-Solent summer service to Sandown, on the east coast of the island.

The company was at an advanced stage of planning to run a link between Sandown and Southsea, initially as a pilot.

But it was forced to axe the proposal on commercial grounds.

Neil Chapman, Hovertravel’s managing director, said: ‘When the idea for the service was first mooted, we were seeking clarification from the Maritime Coastguard Agency over its regulations for the area.

‘The MCA gave us permission to go ahead with it, provided we upgraded our safety equipment — more specifically, our lifeboats.

‘To change the design was not an economically viable option. It would involve a considerable cost element to modify our safety equipment.

‘Also, with our two craft due to be replaced next year, coupled with good advanced summer bookings, we had to make a commercial decision.’

He added that he was ‘disapointed’ not to be able to provide a service, but that the company may revisit the possibility again.