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This article contentment commentary that was previously added to the article text now moved to this talk page

NOTE: The scrapping of the two Mk3 craft is not confirmed. In fact, this is the first I had heard of it. I will update the page when I have confirmed information. R5gordini (talk) 13:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

How can we have both the Mountbatten class hovercraft and the N500 Naviplane referred to as the largest hovercraft in the world? The Mk III variant of the Mountbatten was 56.38m long, 23.77m beam and was heavier than the N500. I think we need to update one or both of the articles. Bliskner (talk) 09:33, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Removed "currently still the world's largest hovercraft". This is not an area in which I have much expertise but clearly the existence of the Russian Zubr class LCAC, though it is a military unit, justifies my minor edit Glen Dillon 07:00, 23 August 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Glen Dillon (talkcontribs)
The SR.N4 was the largest Passenger hovercraft. The Zubr class is a military craft. (talk) 14:49, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Reason for cessation[edit]

That the channel tunnel made the SRN4 unprofitable is just guesswork from a rough coincidence of dates. The Coast TV programme is confident that the SRN4 was always supported by the Duty Free trade and the channel tunnel didn't immediately affect the SRN4. Duty Free ended about a year later, and that put paid to the SRN4. I suggest you ask their producer what the source is for that. (talk) 13:52, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

this 1981 document for the competition document states that BHRL didn't make money from up to 1981 with the exception of a £5000 profit in 1976. I also note that it only made money from duty free going England-France and onboard.GraemeLeggett (talk) 14:23, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Picking this up again, it seems a bit dubious to claim the end of duty-free as the sole reason for the withdrawal of these craft. The Hoverspeed page certainly doesn't mention it, but rather specifically states that closure of the successor catamaran service followed, "years of losses due to strong competition and the Channel Tunnel link."

As Graeme says, the service showed a history of never making a profit, and the official report states that, "the introduction of a number of large new conventional ferries and increased price competition on the short sea routes culminated in a disastrous year in 1980." Of the six SR.N4s operated by the company, four were withdrawn or scrapped between 1983 and 1998, leaving only the two oldest (1968) craft to run the service for the last two years.

It seems that the basic reason for the end of the SR.N4s was simply end-of-service-life-issues for a craft that had never operated at a profit, anyway. We certainly can't say that the end of duty free made them "unprofitable," because they were unprofitable already! Nick Cooper (talk) 11:46, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

This article is of interest What happened to passenger hovercraft? - BBC News GrahamHardy (talk) 16:45, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
The Seaspeed service was instigated as part of the then-nationalised British Rail - as was Sealink - and as nationalised organisations their purvue was to provide a service to the UK public at a price the average member of the public could afford. Not to make a profit. The latter only became a sticking point after privatisation by Thatcher's government in the 1980s.
The main reason for the final cancellation was that the hovercraft were just about worn out and their spares had become difficult/expensive to obtain and replacement SR-N4's were unavailable, after the opening of the Tunnel the end of Duty Free was probably just the final straw. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:03, 30 January 2016 (UTC)


What were the fares for crossing the Channel, and how did this compare with passage via the tunnel? knoodelhed (talk) 08:44, 23 December 2012 (UTC)