WIGHTLINK has announced it is axing some night time sailings and is looking for voluntary redundancies among its workers, blaming low customer demand.
The company said today (Friday) it was planning to cut night-time sailings between Lymington and Yarmouth, Portsmouth to Fishbourne and on the catamaran between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier to protect what it says is 'the long-term sustainability’ of the services.
The planned changes are due to take place from January 1 next year. They will involve four roundtrips being cut from the Lymington to Yarmouth route — the 22:30, 23:59, the 03:45 and the 05:10, all from Lymington.
Three night crossings are set to be cut from the Fast Cat service — those leaving from Portsmouth at 23:15, 00:15 and 04:15 meaning that from January 1, 2013, the last round trip would leave at 22:15 from Portsmouth Harbour.
The first sailing from Ryde would be at 05:47 to meet the needs of commuters.
On the Portsmouth Gunwharf to Fishbourne route it proposes to combine the 23:00 and 01:30 sailings into a new 23:59 sailing.
A company spokesman said: "Just two per cent of our customers travel on the affected sailings. The company recognises and regrets that a small number of individual customers will be significantly affected by these changes. However, Wightlink’s duty is to secure the service for the majority of customers for the long-term."
The number of redundancies is not yet clear.
*In a statement on the company's website chief executive Russell Kew said: "Everyone has been affected by the economic downturn, and businesses like ours, which largely rely on tourism, have also been affected by the poor weather over the summer.
"Many of our costs, such as fuel, are also rising steeply. We want to protect our customers as much as possible from impact of these factors, and so we are planning some changes which will improve our efficiency."