The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

Last minute legal challenge forces Ponte Ferries to delay start of Sicily service

Thursday, 5 August 2021, 14:20 Last update: about 3 months ago

A last-minute legal challenge with Sicilian authorities by another competing operator, which objected to Ponte’s use of the Augusta Port, has forced the ferry operator to delay the start of its Sicily service. 

Ponte Ferries said in a statement that it was ready to start its service from Friday; however, it cannot proceed as planned after another competing operator, which does not travel to the Augusta port, submitted a contestation at the eleventh hour against Ponte’s use of the berthing area for which it had applied last November. 

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To assist customers who have booked ferry trips in the coming days, Ponte Ferries said that it has chartered an aircraft and will also provide them with a free voucher for car rental. Alternatively, they can claim an instant refund and will, in addition, be given a voucher to use the service for free over the next 12 months.

A spokesman for Ponte said: “We apologise to our customers first and foremost for the huge disappointment this development will inevitably cause. We know how important their holidays are and are doing everything we can to make it up to them while we work round the clock to resolve this issue. 

“Ponte’s objective from the start has been to offer an alternative ferry service to Sicily for customers who want value and a choice of operators, and we remain committed to fulfilling our mission.” 

The offer of chartered flights to those who have reserved tickets will run till Friday, August 13. Customers who have booked trips after this date will be offered a full refund and an additional voucher to travel for free over the next 12 months. 

“We will be keeping our customers and the public informed of developments and are confident that our service will be fully operational within weeks,” the spokesman said. 

Ponte has set up a helpline for customers, who may call 2799 8989 for assistance with their bookings, refunds and vouchers or e-mail [email protected]

 

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