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Thursday, 21 March

A message from our CEO, Fran Collins

To our valued customers;

I hope this finds you well.

I’m writing to express my sincere apologies for the recent disruption you’ve experienced with our Red Jet Hi-Speed service. I genuinely do understand the vital role our service plays in the lives of our customers, and I deeply empathise with the frustration and inconvenience that disruption causes to your travel plans, including the impact on things like work, medical appointments, and spending time with friends and family to name but a few reasons for needing to get across the water. I’d like to assure you that we are tirelessly working to make the necessary repairs to our vessels and restore the reliability of our service. 

I trust that you are aware of our current revised Hi-Speed timetable, including the additional Blue Funnel Ferry service. While my original intention was to post this once we'd returned to our scheduled timetable, I felt it was important to reach out now to let you know what we’re going to do for you today, as well as share some updates on our fleet, current challenges and what we’re doing about them. 

Hi-Speed Fleet Update 
As of this writing:

Red Jet 6 is currently operational, and in service.

Red Jet 7 is undergoing essential repairs to her propulsion system, and we hope to have her back in service within days.

Red Jet 4 is not due to return to passenger service. Now 20 years old, it is no longer economical to maintain the vessel as part of the fleet for this route, especially since the near 30% drop in passenger volumes since 2019 coupled with rising overheads. Instead, our priority is on ensuring the reliability and punctuality that we (and you) rightly expect from Red Jets 6 and 7.

Service disruption and cancelling crossings is never in anyone’s best interest unless they are made for safety reasons. They only result in additional costs for us, as well as a loss of faith from our valued customers, like you, and we are sorry that our service has not performed as well as we would like over the last couple of months. 

January and February were particularly challenging months for service disruptions. This was mainly due to a combination of weather-related cancellations as well as mechanical setbacks. Key challenges included engine issues, unusually complex diagnostic works, and supply chain troubles. 

Cancellations due to staffing
This has been a particularly emotive topic on social media and is unsurprisingly the cancellation reason that results in the most formal complaints to our Customer Services team. 

We have an appropriately sized team across Red Funnel, including adequate back up cover. Rearranging of staff and rotas happens on a routine basis behind the scenes, and in nearly every instance is successful. You just won’t see us texting or tweeting about this, as the service simply goes on.  Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid cancellations when there is a crew issue, as certain roles with specialised training are essential for the legal and safe operation of the service. 

I appreciate when we cancel for this reason, it’s difficult to digest. But the fact is, we remain committed to being transparent about our exact reasons for all instances of disruption, even if that means delivering difficult, but honest news.

Vehicle Ferry Fleet Replacement
We are well underway in progressing our Vehicle Ferry fleet replacement programme. Two of our vessels hit the 30-year mark in 2024, and the ultimate solution to improving the reliability of our service is to replace them with modern, more sustainable vessels. 

Last year we scoped the requirements for our future fleet and are now raising the funds we need to bring our vision to life. You may have heard about the recent changes we’ve made to our Board structures and memberships – these are directly related to this and no cause for concern, and we look forward to sharing more exciting news around this topic soon.  

Thank You 

On a final note, I want to share how truly grateful I am to those of you who have taken the time to write to us or posted public comments of praise for the continued dedication of our staff. They are working tirelessly, both on the front lines and behind the scenes, to serve you to the best of their abilities, especially during difficult times. Please know that your kindness in recognising their efforts is routinely shared with them and is very deeply appreciated. 

If there is anything we can do to assist you today, please get in touch with our team at [email protected]

With kind regards and appreciation for your custom.

Fran Collins
CEO, Red Funnel