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Press Releases Archive 2015

Hovertravel helps friends with benefits 09/12/2015

Hovertravel is extending its Blue Card benefit to the friends and family of Blue Card holders for the festive season. This means if you have a friend or family member on the Isle of Wight you can visit them for less.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel, says: "Our Blue Card is extremely popular and we wanted to give our loyal customers the chance to share some goodwill with their friends and family at Christmas. We also know how many people like to visit family and friends at this time of year, so we created this extra discount code to be gifted to relatives travelling to the Isle of Wight ."

The offer is for 20% off standard period return (Adult & Child) travel, for all visiting friends and family between 22nd Dec 2015 and 3rd Jan 2016. Travel has to start from Southsea and is only available on period returns. All bookings have to be made online by 16 December.

Get your clothes off for charity04/12/2015

Hovertravel's Ryde terminal now has two collection bins for customers looking to donate clothing to the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

"As long-term and proud supporters of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, we want to help out where ever we can," explains Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel. "Our terminal at Ryde is a great location for people to donate their unwanted clothing. As well as commuters dropping off clothes on their way to work, we have also been accepting donations from local Ryde residents."

The Earl Mountbatten Hospice has asked that all donations must be clean, usable and of saleable quality. The better the quality of the items, the more money they can raise from their sale. These can be unwanted gifts, children’s clothing or men’s and women’s clothing and shoes.

Darren Button of Earl Mountbatten Hospice added "Working in partnership with Hovertravel opens up a new source of donations for us. Hundreds of customers pass through their terminals each day and if all of them brought one good donation it would go a long way to helping the Hospice raise the vital funds it needs to provide fantastic palliative care."

Samantha Belfitt appointed as Navigator at Hovertravel 16/11/2015

Hovertravel has announced the appointment of a new Navigator. Samantha Belfitt has successfully completed her training on the hovercraft.

Sam's qualifications include an Officer of the Watch (Unlimited) Licence and also a BSc (Hons) in Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies, which, although not a requirement, has been helpful when understanding hovercraft. Her main duties include assisting the Captain by providing radar information regarding the traffic situation, distances and courses to steer when necessary during hours of darkness.

As well as customer facing roles at Legoland and the Wheel of Manchester, Sam served on container vessels Ever Lasting, Ever Sigma and Ever Elite, where she performed the role of Officer Of the Watch on the bridge under supervision in areas such as collision avoidance, navigation, anchor watch and position fixing. She was also required to conduct solo deck watch keeping that included cargo operation supervision and team management, ballasting for stability and manning the ship's telephone whilst keeping in constant communication with the deck team.

Samantha Belfitt adds, " I grew up on the Isle of Wight and in Portsmouth before that, where I have fond memories of going to Southsea to watch Double-O Seven and Freedom 90 come in and out. My dad even made up bedtime stories about the hovercraft at Hovertravel. The company has been a big part of my childhood and when an opportunity to work there came up, I jumped at the chance.'

Hovertravel flies flags to remember 03/11/2015

From Sunday 1st November to Sunday 8th November, Hovertravel will be flying special remembrance flags at both their terminals. Customers will be able to buy poppies and donate at Ryde and Southsea too.

Loretta Lale, Marketing & Commercial Manager at Hovertravel, explains, "Remembrance Sunday is important date in the Hovertravel calendar. As well as our customers who are in or have been in the military, Hovertravel has also employed numerous ex-service personnel, so we have a very strong connection to this event.

We support all UK armed forces with a 20% discount on our services on production of a valid ID card and this offer is available all year round, not just for remembrance day.'

Island Express returns to service earlier than expected 01/11/2015

Hovertravel welcomed the return of its second craft Island Express with the news that their winter timetable will be resumed from start of service on Monday 02 November.

Island Express was expected back in service on Tuesday 03 November but thanks to constructive collaboration between Hovertravel, Griffon Hoverwork and the MCA who have all been proactive in seeking to resolve the issues as quickly as possible without compromising on the highest standards of craft safety, she returned to Ryde on Saturday 31 October. Following a rigorous inspection by Hovertravel's engineering team and several operational crossings on Sunday 01 November, Island Express will be back in service as our customers return to school and work after the October half-term.

Hovertravel updates customers on new craft 26/10/2015

Hovertravel reports that construction of its two new craft is progressing well. The craft are now recognisable from their exteriors as hovercraft, although obviously updated and more streamlined.

'We are very happy with the progress of the build and we are on plan to have both these two craft in service next year.',' explains Neil Chapman, Managing Director of Hovertravel .

One of the most dominant features on new craft are the larger ducts; the circular covering which surrounds each propeller. At four metres tall, the ducts are made from Carbon Fibre and are 28% bigger than the existing ducts.

Moving towards the front of the new craft, the wheelhouse has been completely redesigned with larger, heated glass windows. Suspended from the main cabin aluminium frame, the wheelhouse is mounted centrally to provide excellent all around visibility for the pilot.

At the very front of the new craft, it is now possible to see the clam-shell covers for the two boarding entrances: one being a ramp and the other being a set of steps. These ingenious clamshells open for boarding and then close to form a weather- -proof seal during the journey, adding to the streamlined poise of the vessel.

Neil Chapman adds: 'As you would expect with such a project, once the craft are built, there needs to be a comprehensive series of trials. Working with Griffon, we plan to conduct these early in 2016 and we will be able to share some of what we will be doing during these trials as they progress.'

Half term discount on family travel with Hovertravel 14/10/2015

From Monday 26th October until Sunday 1st November 2015, Hovertravel is offering a family day return for just £25 instead of the normal £46.50.

The customers must book online on the Hovertravel website using promotional code FAMWEEK25 by the 19th October to receive this special offer.

A family day return can include two adults and up to three children and one child must travel. Full details here

Fastest way to the festival of light 12/10/2015

Hovertravel, the fastest cross-Solent ferry, has teamed up with Robin Hill and Southern Vectics to create a discounted package for the Robin Hill Electric Woods Festival of Light. With savings of over 23% on normal prices, this package combines a return trip on the hovercraft, bus transfers to and from Robin Hill plus entrance to the event for only £27 per adult and £23 per child over 5 years.

Available for Friday 23rd October and Saturday 24th October only, this unique package can only be booked on the phone 08434 878887 or at the Hovertravel terminals in Southsea and Ryde.

Robin Hill’s Festival of Light is a stunning spectacle of creatively themed light, colour, sound, and entertainment inspired by the Hindu Festival of Diwali where ‘light triumphs over darkness’.

As darkness falls, visitors can experience the lush colours, flavours and magic of the Asian sub-continent set in Robin Hill’s glorious autumnal ancient woodland as the exciting ‘electric woods’ captures the spirit of the most popular festival in the Indian calendar. Wandering through the ‘electric woods’, visitors can enjoy a stunning sound & light show which envelopes the Canopy Skywalk (new for 2015) and incorporates fire projectors and illuminated screens to dramatic effect, creating an exciting walk through experience.

The Indian poem, ‘The Ramayana’, which celebrates the victory of good over evil, is creatively portrayed by enchanting cinematic shadow theatre in the woodland amphitheatre – and light installations depicting elephants, stars and peacocks can be discovered throughout the woods.

Visitors will be able to embrace the spirit of Diwali by taking part in the Colour Walk – a vividly coloured walk through the otherwise dark woodland glades where, armed with special ‘Holi’ powder, they will ward off evil demons by throwing burst of coloured powder into the air (and onto each other!)! All visitors will receive a free pouch of brightly coloured powder to throw whilst on their quest.

The Diwali theme continues across all refreshments with an enhanced authentic Indian menu of curries, Asian sweets, and traditional teas; providing a true ‘taste of India’, served in the magical woodland ponds and in the African Adventure Play Area, where themed music and decoration adds to the ambience.

Robin Hill’s electric woods Festival of Light event is open 5pm - 9pm on Friday and from 5pm – 10pm on Saturday.

20% off Hovertravel for Portsmouth library card holders 09/10/2015

All Portsmouth Library Card holders get 20% discount on Hovertravel fares. The Portsmouth Library Card is free and you do not even need to live in Portsmouth to qualify.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing manager, explains: 'We are keen to support the communities on both sides of the Solent, so when we can work with an institution such as the Portsmouth City Libraries and add value to their visitors, we are proud to provide an ongoing discount.'

You can join in person at one of Portsmouth City Council's ten libraries, or fill in the online application form here .

Over 46% discount on family travel with Hovertravel on Sundays 06/10/2015

From Sunday (18th October) until 13th December 2015, Hovertravel is offering a discount of over 46% on family tickets bought and used on a Sunday. A family day return will cost just £25 instead of the normal £46.50.

The customers must book online on the Hovertravel website (www.hovertravel.com) using promotional code SUNDAY25 by the Monday prior to their chosen Sunday of travel to receive this special offer.

A family day return can include two adults and up to three children and one child must travel.

Hovertravel helps with day out for St Barnabas House Hospice 21/09/2015

Hovertravel helped out sister company Skybreak’s Your Service Centre at Gatwick Airport with an extra special day trip for St Barnabas House Hospice in Worthing, West Sussex.

The group met at Southsea for the ten minute hovercraft journey to Ryde, on the Isle of Wight and were transported from Ryde to Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s former holiday home on an open-top double decker bus from Southern Vectis. They had an opportunity to wander around the extensive grounds and house of the English Heritage site before returning via Hovertravel.

Neil Francis, Community Fundraising Manager at St Barnabas House Hospice, said: 'The group had a fantastic day. Thank you so much from us all here for your support and kindness. They felt extremely welcome and looked after throughout.'

Skybreak was able to arrange this trip thanks to the generosity of Hovertravel and Southern Vectis.

Hovertravel offers island residents £5 deal for Bestival weekend04/09/2015

Hovertravel, the fastest Isle of Wight passenger service across the Solent, has launched its annual Escape the Bestival £5 fare for Island residents. 

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing manager at Hovertravel, explains: 'Hovertravel has made a commitment to give island customers access to standard price fares and to provide some special offers during the festival weekends. By creating an exclusive Blue Card web-only booking fare, we can offer a fabulous deal targeted to those customers who may not wish to go to the event.' 

Between Friday 11th September and Sunday 13th September only, day return tickets from Ryde to Southsea will be available at a discounted price of £5 for adults/children/seniors. These special fares can only be booked online. :

As during previous festival periods, Hovertravel will operate their highly effective priority boarding system which will fast-track commuters and regular Island customers, including NHS patients, onto the hovercraft, essentially allowing these customers to automatically jump to the front of any queue. 

Full terms and conditions, along with the promo code, have been emailed to all Hovertravel Blue Card holders. :

Stay out later this weekend with Hovertravel and Victorious 24/08/2015

Hovertravel's extra late services mean that Island residents can enjoy the Victorious Festival later this weekend. :

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing manager, explains: 'No one wants to spend too much time travelling and when an event is over, everyone wants to get home as quickly as possible. We have added extra services to our weekend timetable to allow visitors to Victorious more time to enjoy the festival. Also the venue is only a short walk down the esplanade from our terminal.':

All the additional services are on sale now; online at www.hovertravel.com and in both the terminals. :

Extra services on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th August

From Southsea: 2130, 2200, 2230, 2300

From Ryde: 2115, 2145, 2215, 2245:

Half a century of golden memories04/08/2015

Tuesday 4th August was a very special day at Hovertravel. Here are some of the highlights:

Overnight we added a splash of gold to one of our hovercraft, Freedom 90, to add a visual metaphor for our fifty years of continuous operation.

We also offered half price travel for ALL customers travelling on Tuesday 4th August and provided a free souvenir official certificate as a keepsake to each and every passenger. As result of this promotion we carried a record number of passengers.

Guests who had submitted memories from the last fifty years of Hovertravel were invited to a special charter which involved a special hovercraft trip on the Solent, complete with expert commentary from one of our pilots. Afterwards these guests enjoyed a vintage-themed afternoon tea, whilst swapping stories about Hovertravel.

For the media who attended the event, this was an exciting opportunity to talk to Hovertravel customers who wanted to share their personal memories of travelling with us.

Neil Chapman, Managing Director of Hovertravel, added: 'We celebrated fifty years of operation by sharing old and making new memories - here's to the next half century of Hovertravel.'

Half-price travel for celebration of 50 years of Hovertravel 30/07/2015

Hovertravel is celebrating over 50 years of continuous operation by offering half price travel on Tuesday 4th August.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel said; 'Fifty years is a fabulous achievement for any business and we want to celebrate with our customers by giving them 50% off all travel to mark this extra-ordinary occasion.'

Inaugurated in 1965, Hovertravel is still the fastest ferry service across the Solent with a journey time of under ten minutes. The service is the longest established hovercraft service in the world and the only scheduled passenger service in Europe.

Neil added: 'Hovertravel was founded to speed up transport across the Solent. Over the past five decades the company has connected the communities of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight with a fast, friendly and frequent service.'

Half Price Travel Offer Terms & Conditions

Terms and conditions apply

Non-refundable and non-transferable

50% discount only available for travel on 4th August 2015

Discount not available in conjunction with any other discount or special offer

50% discount is available on all travel tickets including: Standard day returns, period returns & singles, concession day return, period return & singles, family tickets, blue card day return, NHS patient day return, group fares.

Discount available on adult, senior & child fares

May be withdrawn at anytime

Subject to availability.

Hovertravel resumes Summer Timetable as Freedom 90 returns to service 20/07/2015

This afternoon Hovertravel welcomed the return of its second craft Freedom 90 with the news that their summer timetable will be resumed from tomorrow morning. Freedom 90 passed her Marine & Coastguard Agency inspection earlier today and after a series of sea trials will be back to supporting her sister craft in operating Hovertravel's two craft summer timetable.

Neil Chapman, managing director at Hovertravel, said: ' Along with our customers and staff, I am extremely pleased to be able to have Freedom 90 available for service. I would like to extend my sincere thanks again to our customers for their patience and understanding over the past few weeks. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of all the staff at Hovertravel.

My engineers have worked very hard , along with our colleagues at Griffon, to get Freedom 90 back into the operation. Extra night shifts and locating very specific components from around the world have demonstrated the super-human efforts the team has applied to this repair.

With the summer timetable operating, including our newly introduced 1615 from Southsea and our extra late services for Portsmouth Live this Saturday, our Help Desk in the Ryde terminal will be open from 0700 to 0900 to assist customers in rebooking on their preferred commuter crossings.'

A form detailing how to claim Hovertravel's One Craft Revised Timetable Compensation package will go live at 0700. Customers can follow the link from the bottom of the home page of Hovertravel's website.

Hovertravel adds late services for Portsmouth Live17/07/2015

Hovertravel, the fastest cross-Solent operator, has extended its timetable by two extra services on Saturday 25th July. Specifically to answer demand for return crossings from customers attending Portsmouth Live, Hovertravel will operate at 10.30pm & 11pm from Southsea.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel, explains: 'Over the past few weeks we have had many requests from customers, who are going to the Portsmouth Live, ask if we can run later for that evening. Having consulted our staff we have, today, announced two extra crossings so our Island customers can enjoy even more of this world class spectacular event.'

The seats are on sale now - at the Ryde and Southsea terminals and on the Hovertravel website. Blue card holders going across to the America's Cup and Portsmouth Live can claim their standard 20% discount. Customers can also take advantage of the extra crossings from Ryde at 10.15pm and 10.45pm.

Hovertravel Update 14/07/2015

Neil Chapman, managing director at Hovertravel, explains: 'With regard to today's service cancellation we have put several measures in place to help our customers. We are transferring passengers to the Wightlink catamaran service at our cost, with Hovertravel staff at the Ryde Pier entrance and Pier head to offer assistance and facilitate Hovertravel passengers. There will be a Hoverbus concierge travelling on the Hoverbus for the duration of our cancellation to assist our customers'.

For more details of the measures Hovertravel has in place for customers travelling today please visit Hovertravel.co.uk .

Neil adds: 'Hovertravel has taken the radically innovative decision to announce an unique form of compensation for its customers. For every day Hovertravel has operated its revised one craft timetable, it will be offering free travel in compensation. .

As soon as Island Express was taken out of service this morning we convened an emergency customer service meeting. Although plans to compensate our customers were being considered, today's service suspension was the trigger for us to apologise with an enhanced compensation offer. Hovertravel is a customer focussed business and we care deeply about the inconvenience we may have caused our passengers. We did not want to simply wait for our customers to complain but instead we wanted to be proactive with an offer of free travel.'.

Hovertravel will be publishing details of how to claim your free travel when Freedom 90 returns to service.

Revised Timetable 28/06/2015

Hovertravel will resume service at 1615 this evening, using Island Express to operate to our normal summer timetable.

Hovertravel is implementing a revised summer timetable from Monday 29th June to Friday 17th July 2015 with the following cancellations:

Monday to Friday

Ex Ryde 0730, 0800, 1600, 1630, 1700, 1730

Monday to Friday

Ex Southsea 0745, 0815, 1615, 1645, 1715, 1745

Hovertravel is asking any customers booked on the above services to rebook on a different service or join the priority standby process. Customers who do not wish to transfer may receive a refund or double compensation as per our cancellation delay replay policy.

Hovertravel's successful priority boarding system (as deployed during the Festival and Bestival) will be implemented between 0550-0845 & 1620-1745 (Ryde) & 1535-1830 (Southsea).

Hovertravel will also implement a new standby line for all services (all day - every day) for all other passengers wishing to travel, who have no reservation and who are not eligible for priority boarding.

A Revised Timetable Help desk will be open in our Ryde Terminal between 0700-0900 and again at 1530-1800 to assist passengers to transfer their bookings and answer enquiries.

Freedom 90 will be leaving Ryde to travel to our sister company Griffon, where she will be repaired, with an anticipated return to service in approximately three weeks.

Once again Hovertravel wishes to apologise for the inconvenience today's suspension and this revised timetable may cause our customers and we ask for your patience as we redouble our efforts to return Freedom 90 to service whilst delivering the best possible one craft timetable we can.

ThunderCat Championship Leaders backed by Hovertravel27/06/2015

James Tapp & Ed Redman, crew of the Mircolink – Ahmad Tea race boat has been granted some Hover help for rounds 7 & 8 of the ThunderCat Racing Championship in Southsea this weekend. Local business Hovertravel will boost the team's title winning hopes, by joining the team as race partners, showing their enthusiasm to support the local community events.

The Hampshire based team is looking forward to the Southsea Grand Prix, as Championship leaders this home event will without doubt be a must win for the team to show the crowds they are worth the top place on the podium.

Redman said ‘Hovertravel is a wonderful brand and this the race partnership will be a fantastic opportunity for Team Mircolink, we are really looking forward to showcasing what we can really do! It makes it more special that it is in our own back yard and has the support from such a prominent company in the community.

This year Hovertravel are celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary, with a section on their website dedicated to the memories from some of the 29 million passengers that have travelled with the service.

James Tapp said ‘’ It is amazing to be involved with Hovertravel on such a special year and hopefully our pictures will make into their memories hall of fame!’’

Thundercat Racing takes place at Southsea Seafront this Saturday & Sunday Between 11:30 – 16:00 28th – 29th June 2015.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel adds; "As the fastest ferry service across the Solent, we were keen to support this exhilarating sport and everyday at our terminals we see firsthand how excited our passengers are about flying across the sea. This is also very much a spectator event as it is possible to watch the 4 metre inflatable boats race their 50hp Tohatsu Engines to the limits just metres away from the shore line, at speeds of 100kph!'

Hovertravel says thanks for the great memories22/06/2015

Hovertravel is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and is asking for customers, staff and fans to send in their best memories of Hovertravel. To say thank you for these contributions, Hovertravel is announcing a Golden Commemorative Charter on 4th August.

Neil Chapman, managing director at Hovertravel, explains: ”We have been surprised and grateful for the contributions we have received from around the world; ex-staff have popped in with pictures and posed for selfies, customers have sent in their memories and special gifts plus we have had some wonderful emails with images passed down through generations.

To say thank you we are running a prize draw for fifty people to visit us in Ryde for a special charter and afternoon tea. Everyone who has sent us a memory up until 21st July will automatically be entered into a prize draw, with the fifty winners being randomly selected drawn on 22nd July by David Thornton from Visit Isle of Wight and Cheryl Buggy from Shaping Portsmouth.”

Hovertravel is celebrating its inaugural journey on 4th August with an extra special Golden Commemorative Charter where fifty lucky guests will experience an unique trip on the Solent, complete with expert commentary from a hovercraft pilot. The guests will then be invited to join some of the Hovertravel team for a sumptuous afternoon tea at their Ryde terminal.

Neil adds: “Please keep sending your fond memories and remember these can be from any time in the past five decades. Did you propose on the hovercraft? Did you travel across with us for your honeymoon? Or to see your grandchild for the first time? Please let us know.”

A selection of images from the past half century of Hovertravel's operation can be seen at: http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/gallery/50th-anniversary/index.php

Send your photos, postcards, letters, tickets and emails to info@hovertravel.com

Hovertravel extends evening 15 minute service 19/06/2015

Hovertravel is permanently extending its fifteen minute evening service by adding in a crossing at 1600 from Ryde and then 1615 from Southsea.

Neil Chapman, Hovertravel's managing director, explains: “We are always monitoring the customer perspective of our service and we had observed that we could improve the experience for customers who regularly travel on the 1630 from Southsea.

In consultation with our Hovertravel Users Group (HUG) and customers, including parents of the school children who use our service at these times, we have decided to add in this extra crossing to strengthen our commuter period.

It is an excellent demonstration of Hovertravel 's success that our 1630 from Southsea is regularly close to full capacity and, to ensure that we can continue to deliver our best customer experience, we knew we needed to respond to this increasing demand. As we celebrate half a century of continuous operation, it is this type of adaptability of timetable to respond to market conditions which keeps Hovertravel as dynamic and customer focussed today as it was when it started in 1965.”

The new crossing will start on Monday 22 June and is bookable online and in our terminals from now.

Priority boarding for Hovertravel during festival weekend08/06/2015

Hovertravel is set to help Island commuters and customers during the forthcoming Isle of Wight Festival weekend.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel, explains: 'We appreciate that many people rely on us for travel across the Solent for business and hospital appointments, or going on holiday to cruise ports and airports. So we are continuing with our highly successful priority boarding system. This avoids any unnecessary delays to our valued commuters and local residents as we fast-track these passengers to the priority boarding area at the front of the queue and on to the next available departure, ahead of the festival customers.'

Hovertravel is operating a booked craft service for the festival goers this year and this operation has worked very successfully for the past four years, keeping queues to a minimum and ensuring a quick turn round for the craft.

Loretta adds: 'And for our Blue Card customers we will be offering a special Festival offer of £5 per day return and free Hoverbus on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.'

For terms and conditions please see the Isle of Wight Blue Card Festival Offer email sent to all Blue Card holders.

Hovertravel’s 50th anniversary search 01/06/2015

Hovertravel officially launch their 50th anniversary celebrations with a shoutout for customers' own happy memories.

Inaugurated in 1965, Hovertravel is celebrating half a century of continuous operation as the fastest ferry service across the Solent. The service is the longest established hovercraft service in the world and the only scheduled passenger service in Europe.

Hovertravel Managing Director, Neil Chapman said: 'In 1965, Hovertravel was started with a bold vision to use exciting new technology to speed up transport across the Solent. Over five decades we have faithfully served the communities of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight as well as attracting customers from around the globe. This great achievement would not have been possible without the dedication of our staff, both past and present, or the support of our customers whose loyalty continues to inspire us today. So, as just one part of our anniversary celebrations, we are hoping to collect and share not just our happy memories of Hovertravel but also those of our customers too.'

An online memory gallery is now live on Hovertravel's website at http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/galleries/. Hovertravel has 50 years of happy memories and they want to share these with the world. They are also keen to hear stories, read letters and postcards from anyone who has fond recollections - from their holidays, honeymoons and day trips over the past fifty years. These will be posted on their website as well as on their Pinterest and Facebook pages.

Neil said 'We have dug deep into our archives to find photos and videos for the memories gallery. The gallery is a great opportunity for us to share our memorabilia. It is fascinating to see what Hovertravel was like over the past fifty years and we are all looking forward to seeing what our customers and staff find to share with us.”

Hovertravel employees receive long service recognition 21/05/2015

Hovertravel has recognised 27 staff for their continued contributions to the company. The knowledge and commitment of long-serving employees were praised at a presentation at the company's head office in Ryde.

The awards were given to those celebrating 10 years, 20 years and 30 years with the company. Quite remarkably, these 27 staff members make up 420 years of combined service, a milestone worthy of highlighting.

Managing Director, Neil Chapman, said: ' I’d like to congratulate all those reaching these important milestones; through their commitment Hovertravel is able to always improve the service it offers to customers. As we celebrate 50 years of continuous operation and keep on evolving, delivering this unique service has demanded high levels of commitment from our staff who have embraced new technologies and new ways of working to deliver efficiencies. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to thank staff for their unrelenting dedication and to take this opportunity to celebrate their professionalism.”

The surprise ceremony was held at the head office In Ryde and each employee received a certificate and a gift consisting of a meal, weekend break or a stay in London with tickets to a top west end show.

Those receiving service awards were:

30 years service Clive Roberts, Jackie Falconer, Kevin Lewis, Peter Mulhern, Barrie Jehan

20 years service Graham Snow, Steve Evans, Steve Attrill, Ade Lewis, Debbie Ash, Neil Barton, Jason Gibbs

10 years service Bob Waldron, Robert Duncan, Matt Barnicoat, Gareth Bloomfield, Paul Brookes, Jayne Davis, Jayne duke, Scott Henwood, Lee Marples, Jock Darroch, Martin Groves, Alan Whaley, Neil Williams, Paul Grant, John Randles, Russell James.

Neil added: 'Our business has changed a lot in the last 50 years. The large number of staff, over a third of our workforce, receiving long service awards is testament to Hovertravel’s commitment to creating sustainable careers within the company.

Hovertravel is helping you win up to £1,00011/05/2015

Hovertravel’s terminal in Ryde is now selling Isle of Wight Lottery Scratch cards. Each card costs £1 and you could win up to £1,000!

Scratch cards were launched on the Isle of Wight on 1 April aimed at generating money to support Island businesses.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager said, “The Isle of Wight Lottery is a not-for-profit organisation. Hovertravel is always looking for ways to support the local community and by selling scratch cards at our terminal, we will help contribute to the lottery fund which then supports local businesses and helps creates jobs. Plus, wouldn’t it be great, if one of our customers won the top prize”.

Since its inception, the IW Lottery has loaned funds to over 68 companies and created thousands of jobs. For more information, visit: http://www.isleofwightlottery.com/

Hovertravel offers discount to see professional cycle race 08/05/2015

Hovertravel will be showing their support for one of Britain’s biggest cycling events, The 2015 Pearl Izumi Tour Series.

On the 14 May, Hovertravel will be offering a massive 20% off the price of a ticket to the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth to ensure as many spectators get to see the official launch of the only major cycling event in the South East this summer outside of London. Visitors can book online www.hovertravel.co.uk and quote booking reference HTTOUR15.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is a challenging team-based event, with up to 10 groups of riders that include top professionals and celebrity cyclists. In 2015 all eyes will be on TEAM WIGGINS – the squad assembled by Tour de France Winner and Olympic Gold Medallist, Sir Bradley Wiggins. TEAM WIGGINS will also be competing with a squad managed by England cricketer and Ashes hero, Matt Prior, as well as some of the UK’s top cycling teams.

As this is the opening race of the tour, spectators will be treated to a bonus time trial at 3.30pm from the pros, followed by the main team race at 7.30pm, lasting around an hour, with a podium presentation on Ryde Esplanade at around 9pm.

Loretta Lale, Hovertravel’s Commercial and Marketing Manager said “It’s really exciting to have the Tour Series start their first leg of 10 on the shores of the Isle of Wight. It will be an amazing day out whether you’re a keen cyclist or not.

“We wanted to give as many of our customers the opportunity to go and see the race with their families; and that’s why we’ve offered this great discount.”

For more information about this great offer, visit: http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/special-offer/tour-series/index.php

For more information about the race, visit: www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

Hovertravel overhauls freight service29/04/2015

Hovertravel has brought their freight business back in house and rebranded the service as Hoverparcels, after several years of sub-contracting to third party freight specialists.

Loretta Lale, Hovertravel's Commercial and Marketing Manager, said 'Our research showed that our customers wanted a consistent and high standard of customer service, so we are now managing and operating our freight service ourselves. We can ensure that the same values which Hovertravel represents with its passenger services are now fully reflected in our freight business.'

Hoverparcels is available to use seven days a week and is the fastest way to transport goods to and from the Isle of Wight.

There are convenient drop off and collection points within the reception areas at both Hovertravel terminals (Ryde and Southsea). As well as transporting parcels across the Solent, Hoverparcels can also deliver and collect parcels from anywhere on the Island. They also offer a same day delivery service which guarantees delivery by the end of that working day.

For more information visit www.hovertravel.co.uk/shop-drop-and-hover.php or email info@hover-parcels.co.uk

Hovertravel’s 50th anniversary launch17/04/2015

Hovertravel officially launch their 50th anniversary celebrations with 5000 seats at only 50 pence.

Hovertravel outlined the plans to make their 50th anniversary a true celebration for all by announcing some of their best ever offers. For the first time ever, Hovertravel has slashed the price of a ticket to 50p for 5000 lucky travellers. Customers can book their 50p tickets online from today.

Hovertravel Managing Director, Neil Chapman said:“We wanted to celebrate our 50th with our customers because if it weren't for them, we wouldn't still be here. We’ve got some fun events starting at the end of this month plus some amazing cut-price tickets!”

Inaugurated in 1965, Hovertravel is celebrating half a century of continuous operation as the fastest ferry service across the Solent. The service is the longest established hovercraft service in the world and the only scheduled passenger service in Europe.

Neil added: 'In 1965, Hovertravel was started with a bold vision to use exciting new technology to speed up transport across the Solent. Over five decades we have faithfully served the communities of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight as well as attracting customers from around the globe. This great achievement would not have been possible without the dedication of our staff, both past and present, or the support of our customers whose loyalty continues to inspire us today.'

For more details and booking visit www.hovertravel.co.uk

Hovertravel go the extra mile for Walk the Wight01/04/2015

Hovertravel, a long time supporter of Walk the Wight, is offering all walkers on the mainland a massive 50% off travel, and adding some special early morning crossings, on the day of the walk.

Hovertravel is helping to encourage more people to take part this year as Loretta Lale, Hovertravel’s Commercial and Marketing Manager explains: 'Walk the Wight is celebrating an amazing milestone – their 25th anniversary and they are looking to raise over £250,000 this year for the community nursing team at Earl Mountbattan Hospice.'

As well as raising much-needed funds for the hospice, Walk the Wight is a wonderful way for everyone, regardless of age, to achieve something amazing whilst enjoying some of the Isle of Wight’s magnificent views and areas of outstanding beauty. There are four different walks to suit all abilities: the Main Walk at 26.5 miles, the First Half at 12.5 miles, the Second Half at 14miles and the Flat Walk; 8 miles of wheelchair and pushchair friendly pathway.

The Hovertravel discount is available now, and is valid on all standard adult and child day returns, period returns and singles with the originating journey from Southsea to Ryde between Thursday 7th and Monday 11th May 2015. These flights can be booked anytime from now, both online and in the terminal, simply enter the promo code WTWHT15 online or show your walker number to Hovertravel Southsea staff to purchase the discount in the terminal. Your walker number will also need to be shown at time of boarding along with your booking confirmation.

On Sunday 10th May, the day of Walk the Wight, Hovertravel will operate additional services at 6.30am, 7am, 7.30am and 8.30am with connecting buses meeting each crossing and taking walkers to the Walk the Wight start points.

For more details, and to book your discounted travel for Walk the Wight, please visit www.hovertravel.co.uk/Walk-the-Wight-2015

To register your place in Walk the Wight, visit: http://www.walkthewight.com/


The weather for the Easter holidays is predicted to be warm and sunny and there's no better way to enjoy your family break than visiting Isle of Wight's award-winning sandy beaches. The quickest route to the Isle of Wight is by Hovercraft. In just under ten minutes you can be enjoying all the Island has to offer with a day return from Hovertravel. However, if the expected heat wave doesn’t materialise there's a huge range of family-friendly events, activities and attractions to keep you entertained.

Here's what's on this Easter:

Yarmouth Duck Race (Saturday 4th April)

Easily one of the biggest competitor sports events on the Island outside of Cowes Week is the Yarmouth Duck Race. However in sharp contrast to the world’s best known sailing regatta in August, the 1200 competitors are all bright yellow, and approximately 10cm tall. Nevertheless spectators will still enjoy a great day of racing at this traditional Easter Saturday event, which starts at 3pm on the river by the Yar Bridge. You can even put your name to a racing duck for a £1 – you will be hard pressed to sponsor a competing vessel in Cowes Week at those prices. http://www.yarmouthcarnival.org.uk/

Snail Mail (30th March to 2nd April)

Kicking off a busy first season at the recently transformed Ventnor Exchange is “Snail Mail” - an immersive theatre production for families which will transform the arts venue into a unique world for the audience to explore. The Exchange is operated under the watchful eyes of the creative team behind Ventnor Fringe, and combines an intimate theatre with a record store, and a craft beer bar.In addition to “Snail Mail”, which takes place from 30th March to 2nd April, they have also confirmed many other great events well worth checking out in the forthcoming months. For more info go to www.ventnorexchange.co.uk

World of the Clown at Piano Café (10th April)

Having once reigned supreme at the heart of circuses and the world of entertainment, the image of the clown has taken a few knocks over the years - largely thanks to Stephen King scaring the bejeebers out of everybody in his 80s horror novel “IT”. Dispelling the negative image on the 10th April will be “Vercoe” the clown – a traditional performer who has appeared on stage with the likes of the great Buster Keaton. His one-man “World of the Clown” show at the charming Piano Café, in Freshwater Bay, will feature fascinating talks and demonstrations from his years in the business, from “man to clown” and back again. http://www.thepianocafe.co.uk/

Design your own egg cup at Chessell Pottery (3rd to 6th April)

Get creative at Chessell Pottery this Easter and produce your own egg cup memento to take away and cherish with boiled egg and soldiers for years to come. A great activity for the whole family to get involved in, plus a chance to produce a last-minute personalised gift. It only costs £6.95, with your egg cup included, and decorating sponges (which include rabbits, chicks, lambs and of course eggs) are all provided. http://www.chessellpotterybarns.co.uk/

Easter Egg Trails

One of the biggest draws of Easter for many of us is the opportunity to feast on chocolate eggs, and a well-earned egg tastes better than any other. Many of our family-friendly attractions will be running their own takes on a traditional egg hunt over Easter weekend, with the “Mad Easter Egg Dash” at Robin Hill Country Park on the 5th& 6th April, and “Cadbury Easter Egg Trails” at Mottistone Gardens on 5th April and Newtown Nature Reserve on the 6th April.

Easter Fun Events

With so many things to do on the Isle of Wight you might be spoilt for choice.So why not keep in the seasonal mood by heading to one of our great attractions that will be running Easter Fun events over Easter and the school holidays? There is Easter Family Fun at The Needles Landmark Attraction, from 28th March to 19th April, with their brand new film experience – The Lost World – showing in the 4D cinema. Queen Victoria’s seaside palace at Osborne will be running their own “Easter Fun” over Easter weekend, where you can follow in the footsteps of her Royal Children, from 3rd to 6th April. Then over the same weekend the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s Easter Fun will see “kids go free”, and will be also be inviting them to take part in their daily Easter bonnet parades.

For more information about what's on this Easter, visit: http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk. To book your Hovertravel tickets, visit: www.hovertravel.co.uk

Hovertravel launches limited edition anniversary timetable 17/03/2015

Hovertravel has produced five different versions of their Summer 2015 timetable. As part of the commemorative 50th anniversary celebrations, each one of the five versions will feature a different vintage photograph from Hovertravel's history.

Lorretta Lale, Hovertravel’s Commercial and Marketing Manager, said: 'Summer at Hovertravel means later and more frequent crossings and, of course, warmer weather. And this year, we’ve got something extra to celebrate – our 50th anniversary, which means extra offers for our customers and special events held throughout the summer months. We’ve launched a limited edition summer timetable that we hope our customers will pick up and keep as a collectors’ item.’

From 1 April, Hovertravel will operate every thirty minutes between 09.00 and 16.00 with the exception of the lunchtime service which will remain hourly unless there is sufficient demand for extra services on the day. In the later summer, for the school holidays, ( between 21st July and 1st September) Hovertravel will run every 30 minutes including during the lunchtime period.

There will also be crossings later in the evening – up until 10pm to Southsea and 10.10pm to Ryde.

Call into Ryde or Southsea terminals to pick up your summer timetable today!

Hovertravel and Sainsbury’s team up for Comic Relief 13/03/2015

This year Hovertravel has partnered with Sainsbury’s Ryde branch to support Comic Relief.

For today's Red Nose Day, colleagues from Sainsbury's will be selling comic relief merchandise from Hovertravel’s terminal including red noses, wrist bands, deeley boppers and scratch cards. There will also be plenty of buckets for donations.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel said “We are delighted to be teaming up with our local Sainsbury’s branch. Our staff are always keen to show their support for Comic Relief and with our local supermarket we can help make a difference. Sainsbury’s has a great selection of merchandise to sell and around 60p of the every pound that’s raised goes straight to help transform the lives of millions of people, both here in the UK and across Africa.”

Maria Bird, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s Ryde said “We are thrilled to have the support of Hovertravel to help us raise money for Comic Relief. Since our store opened on Union Street in October we have been made to feel very welcome, this is another example of the community coming together to help others. Our colleagues love getting involved with Red Nose Day fundraising and we have some brilliant activities planned. By raising cash this Red Nose Day, you’re helping to change lives forever. That’s because Comic Relief spends the money raised to help change the lives of poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the UK and Africa.”

To encourage donations from customers Hovertravel staff will be wearing red noses during the day.

Apprentice success at Hovertravel11/03/2015

Hovertravel’s apprentice recruit Kya Cook has shown how dedication and hard work can positively impact both the employer and employee.

Julie Horrocks, Sales Development Manager of Hovertravel, explains: "Kya is known as being a helpful contact who can aid our customers with their booking, especially online where she provides the invaluable support through our web chat system. She is an essential part of our customer service department, assisting customers and making bookings on the telephone. Our online sales are increasing significantly and this in a major part, is thanks to employees like Kya. She very quickly understood the core values of Hovertravel and has applied herself to her role with great skill and empathy. We regularly receive highly positive feedback from customers about her.”

Kya Cook started as apprentice in January 2014 and passed her three month probation with distinction, becoming a full-time Customer Service & Sales Assistant.

Kya adds: ‘I’m extremely grateful to Hovertravel for giving me this opportunity and the work itself is very rewarding. All in all, my job continues to be an overwhelmingly positive experience from which I learn a great deal and I am delighted to be part of this legendary company at such an exciting time.’

Kya is studying towards her NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service with the Isle of Wight College.

“Kya has been a fantastic candidate for an Apprenticeship.” said Trevor Hearne, Customer Service Assessor at the Isle of Wight College “Hovertravel has been very supportive of the Apprenticeship programme by allowing Kya time away from her duties to be assessed and have feedback as well as ensuring that she has the sufficient tasks to cover the range of criteria laid down in the qualification. With regards to apprentice training which is assessed by the Isle of Wight College, Kya has received excellent grounding from Hovertravel which then underpins her knowledge and ability to complete the Intermediate Level 2 Customer Service Apprenticeship. This has proven to be a perfect situation – a student such as Kya who is willing, capable and enjoys her role, a dedicated employer in Hovertravel with a supportive management structure, and a good learning experience provided by the Isle of Wight College.”

Half price offer for Hovertravel’s Blue Card Holders 04/03/2015

Hovertravel 's free Blue Card is proving to be very popular with Island residents, thanks to a regular set of amazing offers, including an ongoing 20% discount on day returns from Ryde to Southsea.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel, explains: 'If you live on the Island and do not already have Hovertravel’s Blue Card, then you must get one. It is free, easy to get and offers significant discounts.'

Island residents simply need to fill in a brief online application form: http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/blue-card.php . Once you have completed your application, your Blue Card will be sent to you in the post.

Loretta adds: 'In addition, you will also get regular emails from us giving you the opportunity to travel at further discounted prices. For instance, the next offer will be 50% deduction on the family ticket price for travel between Saturday 21 March and Sunday 22 March.'

To take advantage of this and other future offers, apply for your Blue Card at http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/blue-card.php

Hovertravel extends timetable for charity events and festival in 201502/03/2015

Following on from the very popular introduction of extra early services for the Great South Run last October, Hovertravel has announced that this year it will extend its timetable for Walk the Wight in May, the Victorious Festival in August and again for the Great South Run in October.

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel, explains: 'When we trialled the early services last year, we had an overwhelming response and this combined with our own staff volunteering to start early to support charity events, has allowed us to offer these additional crossings.

The Walk the Wight and Great South Run events are always on Sundays when we normally start later than our weekday services, so we are delighted to be able to help with both these great events and our staff’s support reflects the team’s dedication and commitment towards our customers.'

The huge success of the Victorious Festival and its location on Southsea Common are very appealing to Isle of Wight residents who want to enjoy the entire event and not spend much time travelling.

Loretta Lale adds: 'We have added later services on both nights of the Victorious Festival which co-ordinate with the last act finishing so our customers can experience the whole day without having to leave before the finale. '

All the additional services are on sale now; online at www.hovertravel.com and in both the terminals.

Hovertravel hosts student tour27/02/2015

Hovertravel has given their full support to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education programme by inviting students from eight local schools to visit their Ryde terminal. 

STEM aims to change the way young people think about maths and science by raising awareness of the careers that studying these subjects can lead to. And what better way to impress young people than to show them the technology at Hovertravel. 

The first school to take up this offer was the Isle of Wight Studio School. Ten students visited Hovertravel this week for a tour of a hovercraft and workshop and to learn more about Hovertravel’s heritage and engineering roles. 

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager, said: 'We are proud to help educate students about our unique service . Hovertravel has 50 years experience of crossing the Solent and we are the only scheduled hovercraft service in Europe, so we do have a great story to tell. Our engineers are able to provide an interesting insight into the day-to-day operation as well as explaining the theory behind this amazing British invention. 

We want to demonstrate how such an innovation can become a commercial success story with half a century of history. That’s why we wanted to support STEM and help inspire young people to have a future in science and engineering.' 

Hovertravel will be opening its doors to Cowes Enterprise College students in March. 

For more information about STEM, see www.yourlife.org.uk.

New craft updates in Hovertravel terminals12/02/2015

Hovertravel customers will be the first to know about the progress of the new craft that are being built for the hovercraft service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

Large exhibition boards are in both terminals - Ryde and Southsea, giving customers regular updates and images of this major development project.

Hovertravel Commercial and Marketing Manager Loretta Lale said:'Keeping our customers informed is a very real priority. It’s essential that they know what is happening within our business and the new craft is our biggest news yet! We want our customers to be the first to know how this exciting project is progressing. Customers will be able to read about the different elements and see some of the build work - from the colour of the seats to internal graphics - as we will keep the display updated with the latest details of the project.'

The two new craft, scheduled for completion later this year and to be in service next year will be replacing the existing two craft.

Hovertravel working with Sandown community to plan new services11/02/2015

Hovertravel, the fastest cross-Solent ferry operator, is looking at the possibility of adding Sandown as a destination from Southsea for this summer.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, explains: "Ian Ward and the Sandown Business Association contacted us last month to explore the idea of bringing our craft to Sandown during the 2015 summer season. We always open to new ideas which might boost tourism to the Isle of Wight and we provisionally agreed the concept, subject to gaining the appropriate permissions."

The plan is for the service to operate from 14 July 2015 to 27 August 2015, every Tuesday and Thursday and to the timetable below:

Am Depart Southsea 9:45 – Arrive Sandown 10:10 Depart Sandown 10:40 – Arrive Southsea 11:05 PM Depart Southsea 2:45 – Arrive Sandown 3:10 Depart Sandown 3:15 – Arrive Southsea 3:40

Neil adds: "We expect the journey to be about 25 minutes which will give passengers from Southsea up to five hours in Sandown. This service will also help passengers travelling from Sandown the opportunity to spend half-a-day in Portsmouth and we will be offering our Island resident Blue Card holders a discount fare too.

The next steps are to be able to confirm all the details by the end of February with an official announcement in March, followed by some test trips in May and June. "

Nicky Parker, chair of Sandown Business Association, said “this new hovercraft service is a great opportunity to provide easy access from the mainland to the beach, zoo, dinosaur museum and numerous other activities and independent retailers available in Sandown. The Business Association is happy to be supporting it and we hope this will soon become an even more frequent service.”

Book the Hover on your phone05/02/2015

Today Hovertravel, the fastest way to cross the Solent, announced a new free smartphone application (iPhone available immediately with Android to follow in February) which now includes the ability to book tickets.

Alongside the popular existing features of live tracking, easy to view timetables and dedicated offers pages, several additional features have been incorporated in the new design. “Smartphones are becoming the platform of choice for booking travel arrangements. Easy-to-use, dependable applications are key to giving our customers access to tickets and real-time information about our service” says Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel.

The sleek new design of Hovertravel's app makes buying a ticket on-the-fly more efficient and more pleasurable for travellers. The app allows for completely paperless travel: just buy your ticket on the app and then show your on-screen boarding pass at the gate.

Another key feature of the app is journey planning, allowing you to find scheduled times for interconnecting services all the way from the Isle of Wight (including Island Line trains and Southern Vectis bus services) through to mainland destinations such as London, Southampton and Bournemouth.

Loretta adds, "Our new app will appeal to regular users who want to be kept up to date whilst on the go and we anticipate that we will see an increase in bookings from ad hoc customers who will take advantage of being able to plan and book a hovercraft trip on their phone from anywhere in the world."

Existing users can simply update and new users can visit the App store to download the new app here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/hovertravel/id441218330?mt=8

The coolest way to the Isle of Wight Festival, literally14/01/2015

Loretta Lale, Commercial and Marketing Manager at Hovertravel says: “Year after year, festival goers tell us they love the iconic status of travelling by hovercraft and we are the only ferry operator to provide free ice pops!”.

The world famous Isle of Wight Festival takes place from 11 to 14 June 2015 and promises to be another fantastic weekend with an amazing line-up including Fleetwood Mac, The Prodigy, Pharrell Williams and Paolo Nutini.

If you book your festival tickets with Hovertravel you can also be on the island in the quickest time – in just ten minutes!

So go on book your tickets now http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/iow-festival-2015/index.php

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Hovertravel Ltd Company registered in England, UK. Company Registration 830401. VAT Registration 107-3428-91. Hovertravel Registered Trade Mark number 2614882 and Hovertravel logo registered trade mark number 2630390. Registered Office: Encombe House, Estate Office, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5LW, England.

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