A WIRRAL company has won the support of the Department for Transport to re-launch a hovercraft service that was last seen in the 1960s.

Hoverlink (NW) believes the service could take 200,000 visitors to and from destinations including Wirral, North Wales, Blackpool, Southport and Liverpool each year and is expected to be operational from 2015.

The scheme, supported by Wirral Council's regeneration department, will run from New Brighton's lifeboat station's launch stage.

The enterprise will cost around £1m to set up and could create 100 permanent jobs.

The business and tourism service will feature a route to Liverpool John Lennon Airport – the world’s only airport hovercraft shuttle.

Hoverlink representatives presented their proposals to Under Secretary for Transport Robert Goodwill MP at Westminster on Wednesday.

Other politicians attending the briefing included Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside and chair of the Transport Select Committee, Wirral West MP Esther McVey, Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane and Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.

Hoverlink CEO Simon Clitheroe, who grew up in Wirral, said: “Momentum behind the Hoverlink project is building fast.

“The meeting outlined our exciting plans to provide a fast hovercraft linking the North West and North Wales.

“With the closure of commercial flights out of Blackpool, the hovercraft provides an integral transport link with Liverpool Airport.

“The unique service will be phased in over two years and could create 100 permanent jobs. With support of the Department of Transport and other Government departments, further meetings will now be held within the 24 Enterprise Zones across England, set up by the Government in 2012 to stimulate business growth.”

The company has already secured a proportion of the costs from private investors but opportunities are still available by emailing investment@hoverlink.net

Hoverlink chairman David Kirwan, senior partner of North West law firm Kirwans, said: “We were greatly encouraged by the support by MPs from all parties and also the Government itself.

“The service makes perfect sense and offers a genuine opportunity to boost the North West economy by potentially billions of pounds over the next few decades.”

The world's first commercial passenger hovercraft service ran briefly from Rhyl to Moreton beach in 1962, but ended when a storm hit the hovercraft while it was moored, damaging its lifting engines.