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Press Releases 2017

Hovertravel’s extra services trial added to timetable - 19/12/17

Hovertravel has announced that its trial of extra Monday services was successful, and these crossings will now be a permanent addition to the winter timetable. So, from January 2018 until 30th March 2018, there will be 0630 & 0700 from Ryde and 0645 & 0715 from Southsea on Mondays (excluding bank holidays).

“We are delighted to announce that these extra services are now included in our timetable. These additional crossings help our customers get through their morning commute more easily.”, explains Loretta Lale, head of commercial and marketing at Hovertravel, “This is an excellent example of Hovertravel’s commitment to keep listening to our passengers and shows we are always looking at how we can deliver an enhanced Hovertravel experience. Feedback for the early extension of services on a Monday has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Hovertravel is the fastest ferry operator across the Solent with a journey time of under ten minutes and the most frequent operator too, with departures every 15 minutes during both the morning and evening commuter peak travel periods.

Hovertravel returns to Gosport with full excursion programme for 2018 - 01/12/17

Over 50 years ago hovercraft were a regular sight in Gosport and, today, Hovertravel returns with a comprehensive line-up of over 25 different excursions available from Lee-On-Solent.

“Hovertravel’s Ryde to Stokes Bay service ran for two years in the mid-1960s and we are so proud to be announcing a jam-packed programme of trips today, once again bringing a hovercraft experience to this area,” explains Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, “We are a both a transport business linking communities and a unique tourist attraction as the only commercial passenger hovercraft service in the world.”

Hovertravel has planned trips for the spring and summer holiday periods as well as the Hovershow Days at the Hovercraft Museum. There are opportunities for Gosport residents to visit the Isle of Wight and for Island residents to visit Gosport and beyond. For the Isle of Wight Pride festival in July, Hovertravel will offer access to a nationally recognised event from an additional departure point.

Neil adds: “Hovertravel is constantly looking for additional cross-Solent opportunities. We can implement excursions and charters extremely quickly and we are keen to explore new ways to bring our hovercraft experience to more people. By collaborating with local councils, we are opening up new avenues for reciprocal tourism and the associated benefits of increased visitor spend between Gosport and the Isle of Wight.”

Dates, times and prices for all excursions are available on the Hovertravel website.

Hovertravel wins bronze at The Beautiful South Tourism Awards 30/11/17

Hovertravel has been awarded a coveted Bronze in the Access and Inclusivity category at the Beautiful South Awards 2017.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, adds: “This is a great honour and, coming so soon after the launch of our HoverCare initiative, has demonstrated the dedication and determination of the team at Hovertravel to make travel easy for all. We were alongside some amazing finalists and the standard of competition in all the award categories was exceptionally high. We are extremely proud to recognised for our work in this area and this award will add to our motivation to continue to evolve our offer to be even more inclusive.”

The cream of the South East’s tourism industry celebrated success last night at the Beautiful South Awards – the highlight of the 2017 tourism calendar. Presented by TV and radio celebrity Toby Anstis and hosted by, headline sponsor, the Grand Brighton, the Awards saw 71 prestigious gold, silver and bronze trophies handed out along and 20 highly commended awarded.

Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said: ‘Last night reminded me again of the sheer quality of tourism businesses in the South East. Never mind the UK, some easily stand up to comparison with the very best tourism businesses in the world. All of the finalists can be very proud of what they have achieved through a commitment to reinvestment, training and a relentless drive to be the best. I hope their example will inspire others. I want to thank headline sponsor The Grand Hotel Brighton and the rest of our sponsors who made the Awards possible and our volunteer independent judges who gave their time and expertise so readily. Making decisions when the entries are so diverse and of such high quality is an unenviable task. I am looking forward to our winners taking on England’s best at the Visit England Awards.’

Hovertravel flies into Portsmouth Harbour - 24/11/17

Hovertravel’s Island Flyer visited Portsmouth Harbour for the first time this morning. Hovertravel’s Solent and Island Flyers are normally to be found crossing the Solent between Southsea and Ryde, but today one of the 12000 craft flew into the harbour for an inaugural visit and trial.

“We wanted to see how the 12000 craft would operate in Portsmouth and capture some iconic images of Hovertravel against this famous waterfront, so we organised a trial and chose a day when we would be seen by the thousands of people visiting Gunwharf Quays for Black Friday,” explains Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel.

Earlier this morning, Island Flyer left Southsea and passed through the entrance to the harbour. After performing several manoeuvres and observing how the craft operates at the low speeds suitable for harbour traffic, Island Flyer returned to Ryde via Southsea.

Neil continued: “Our pilots, crew and engineers all agreed that this was a highly successful first visit to Portsmouth Harbour and the craft exceeded our expectations for this trial. Hovertravel is always interested in exploring new opportunities across the Solent and we aspire to further develop our offering in 2018.”

Brainy Bunch reveal support from Hovertravel - 21/11/17

Hovertravel has shown that it is fully behind The Wight Brainy Bunch by helping to promote the charity’s latest fund-raising initiative: the Hoses & Helmets Calendar for 2018.

Neil Chapman, managing director at Hovertravel, adds: “We are announcing our support of this fabulous and worthy local charity by helping promote their 2018 calendar, which we will be selling alongside their Christmas cards in both our terminals. Hovertravel is keen to help contribute to the health and wealth of the communities it links across the Solent and we look to provide meaningful assistance as and when we can to charitable causes.”

The Wight Brainy Bunch was set up by Mark Grimes and his wife Kathryn following Mark’s diagnosis of a brain tumour in February 2015. The charity supports the Brain Tumour Charity and The Fire Fighters Charity but for 2017 the focus is raising funds for the Wessex Neurological Centre in Southampton, where Mark underwent his craniotomy in 2015 and also to supply a support network and funding to assist families on the Isle of Wight who have been affected by brain tumours.

For more details on the Wight Brainy Bunch charity please visit their website at: http://www.thewightbrainybunch.org.uk/

Hovertravel pulls out all the stops for Children In Need

For 2017 Hovertravel has stepped up their BBC Children In Need fundraising with a full day row-a-thon and collections on two days in both terminals, bringing their donation to a massive £408!

Loretta Lale, head of commercial at Hovertravel, explains: “We wanted maximum impact and maximum staff involvement for our fundraising efforts this year and, thanks to our friends at The Evolution Gym in Ryde, a rowing machine was in our Ryde terminal from the start of our operation at 0615 until the engines were shut down after our last service.”

Staff from across the company have joined in; from pilots to engineers, cashiers to crew and even our MD, Neil Chapman! The most surprising rower during the morning was one of our regular commuters who stayed to row with us and took a later crossing.”

The staff and occasional customer at Hovertravel rowed a grand total of 110 miles. Hovertravel is a long-term supporter of Children In Need and customers will also be able to donate in both the Ryde and Southsea terminals on Friday 16 November.

Hovertravel trials extra services due to popular demand - 13/11/17

Hovertravel has added four extra services to its early morning Monday timetable. There will be 0630 & 0700 from Ryde and 0645 & 0715 from Southsea.

“We always make a conscious effort to listen to our passengers”, explains Loretta Lale, head of commercial and marketing at Hovertravel, “and our early morning commuters have asked for more services at the start of the week. The speed of our craft allows us to add in additional crossings when demand is high, and we are introducing four new crossings for a trial period of 5 weeks. At the end of the trial, we will review all feedback and usage to determine their continuation in the timetable”

Hovertravel is the fastest ferry operator across the Solent with a journey time of under ten minutes and the most frequent operator too, with departures every 15 minutes during both the morning and evening commuter peak travel periods.

Hovertravel holds rescue meeting for Wessex Cancer Trust minibus service

Hovertravel has hosted a meeting to start a co-ordinated community effort to keep The Wessex Cancer Trust minibus service operating.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, explains: “With the funding from the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group no longer available for this vital transport service, Hovertravel wanted to assist with the efforts to find a solution, and it was humbling to see the outpouring of support from the island community, including Bob Seely MP as well as the local Cancer Support groups and its workers.

Thankfully I am pleased to advise that following this very positive meeting, funding from anonymous donations has been secured to keep the minibus operating until Spring 2018. There are also several other options for longer-term funding including Hovertravel donating 10% of its current NHS fare. We have all agreed to meet again in the New Year to continue to progress how we can identify a sustainable source of funding for this most important service .”

The meeting was attended by Cait Allen:Wessex Cancer Trust, Sofie Bennett: Wessex Cancer Trust, Mike Seizer-Green: Wessex Cancer Trust, Neil Chapman: Hovertravel, Loretta Lale: Hovertravel, Gary Eldridge: Hovertravel, Dave Kiely: Prostate Cancer Support Group, Mary Seymour: Skin, Head and Neck Cancer Support Groups, Bob Seely MP, Martin Fuller: NHS Hospital Trust, Chris Jarman and June Ring.

Cait Allen, Chief Executive Wessex Cancer Trust, adds: “I know Neil has spoken to many of Hovertravel’s customers over the last week, including those who use this essential link, and that everyone at Hovertravel was keen to help bring the community together to find a solution.

As well as a big thanks to Hovertravel, I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who attended this meeting today and with the plans we have agreed today I am confident we can secure the future of The Wessex Cancer Trust minibus for several years to come.”


Since 2014 patients travelling across to Portsmouth for cancer treatment having been using a dedicated bus service which runs between the Hovertravel terminal at Southsea and Portsmouth Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. Each year the bus provides over 8,000 passenger journeys for cancer patients from the island.

Originally three years funding was provided by The NHS (Primary Care Trust) however the CCG is no longer able to fund patient transport services outside of the national eligibility scheme.

Hovertravel announces winter timetable - 30/10/17

Hovertravel has published its new winter timetable which adds an extra service on Saturday afternoon for customers looking to go shopping or an early start to their Saturday night out. The extra departure for the winter 2017 and 2018 timetable will be the 1445 on Saturdays. Printed timetables can be collected from both Ryde and Southsea terminals.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial, adds: “Last winter we carefully monitored every service to see how busy they were, and we listened to all the feedback we received from our customers. For 2017/18 winter season, we only needed to introduce one additional Saturday service to ensure our winter service provides a frequent service at the most popular times. Our supervisors at both Ryde and Southsea can run extra services on the day if there is sufficient demand.”

As in previous winters, during the week, Hovertravel will operate an hourly service after the commuter morning peak, from the 0915 Ryde departure until the 1315 Ryde departure. There will then be a 1345 departure from Ryde, to help customers who wish to leave or return in the middle of a weekday. The service is then hourly until the commuter evening peak starts with the 1545 Ryde departure. The 15-minute frequency during both the morning and evening commuter peaks remains.

From 01 November the new winter 17/18 timetable will be available on Hovertravel’s free smartphone app which gives next service information and allows customers to track the hovercraft in real-time on a live map.

Hovertravel in the final for access and inclusivity award - 27/10/17

Hovertravel has been named as one of just four finalists for the Access and Inclusivity Award in The Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2017/18, run by Tourism South East.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, said: “To achieve a place in this prestigious final shows that the team at Hovertravel is working hard to make travel easier for all and recognises our ambition to continue to enhance our access and inclusivity provision. We recently launched our HoverCare initiative at the start of our Accessibility Awareness month and everyone at Hovertravel is delighted to be acknowledged for our work in this area. We also would like to wish all of our fellow finalists good luck!”

Hovertravel joins three other Isle of Wight businesses recognised as finalists as well as one highly commended tourist attraction and other Portsmouth-based tourist attractions The Mary Rose Museum and Spinnaker Tower - all of which have been both recognised as finalists and as highly commended in several categories. The winners will be announced at the black-tie Awards Night at The Grand Brighton hotel on the 29th November.

Hovertravel present Hoverwalkers cheque to Earl Mountbatten Hospice

Hovertravel has presented a cheque for the money raised by their Hoverwalkers team at this year’s Walk the Wight to the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

Jax Jones, Major Events Fundraiser for Earl Mountbatten Hospice and Walk the Wight organiser said, ‘Walk the Wight is a huge team effort and wouldn’t happen without Island businesses, supporters, volunteers and walkers coming together to make it happen. Hovertravel really embody the spirit of this event by their sponsorship, logistical support and with the Hoverwalkers team itself taking part on the day and raising such a fantastic sum of money to help ensure Islanders and their families receive the very best care when facing death and bereavement. We are so very grateful for their continued support.’

Hovertravel’s Head of Commercial, Loretta Lale said “We are delighted to support the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. The hospice is very close to our hearts as so many of our staff have friends and family who have been cared for by this highly regarded local charity. Our Hoverwalkers team consists of people from all areas of our business, from cashiers, crew, engineers and pilots plus we operate extra services on the day of the event to ensure everyone from the mainland can join in too.”

Hoverparcels targets businesses with fastest claim

Hoverparcels, the Cross-Solent parcel service operated by Hovertravel, is the fastest way of transporting small to medium items of freight and parcels to and from the Isle of Wight.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, explains: “All the advantages of Hovertravel including our frequency and the fact that we are the fastest ferry by some margin, make us a great choice for anyone sending freight across the Solent. We can also deliver and collect your parcels from anywhere on the Island. We offer a same day delivery service which guarantees delivery by the end of that working day.”

Operating seven days a week, Hoverparcels is available in the freight receptions at both the Southsea and Ryde terminals. Hoverparcels has also introduced a loyalty scheme which offers half-price on your sixth use and a totally free service on your tenth. Open to businesses looking to set up a credit account or ad hoc users paying as they go.

Contact Press Office

Accredited members of the media looking to film on our hovercraft or at our terminals for a relevant, current news story should contact our press office on:

✉ stephen@communicationmatters.co.uk

07831 268199

All requests will be assessed and responded to within 24 hours.

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