Operators remain tight-lipped over cause of i360’s latest breakdown

The i360 on Brighton's seafront
The i360 on Brighton's seafront

Brighton’s newest seafront attraction reopened on Wednesday (March 29), after it became stuck for more than an hour last weekend.

But despite reopening after several days, bosses at the attraction did not specify the cause of the fault which brought the ride to a standstill.

Representatives from the British Airways i360, Brighton and Hove City Council, West Pier Trust and Coast to Capital at the attractions launch

Representatives from the British Airways i360, Brighton and Hove City Council, West Pier Trust and Coast to Capital at the attractions launch

The ride closed after visitors were trapped in the glass pod on Saturday afternoon, and it’s not the first time this has happened.

The i360 broke down on several occasions in September because of a ‘load imbalance’ and again last month over a damaged data ribbon.

The Brighton & Hove Independent asked the British Airways i360 to answer a number of questions on the latest breakdown. They were:

- Can you clarify what the technical issue was which closed the i360 last weekend, and what has been done to fix the issue?

British Airways i360

British Airways i360

- What can you say to reassure visitors that this won’t happen again?

- Was the issue connected to previous breakdowns?

- Is there anything that can be done to stop visitors being stuck on the attraction when it breaks down – what safety measures are in place?

- Is there a timeline for appointing a new CEO after the departure of Eleanor Harris?

Refund receipt after one of the i360's previous breakdowns (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

Refund receipt after one of the i360's previous breakdowns (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

- Is the attraction hitting its projected visitor targets?

Remaining tight-lipped over the cause of the latest incident, a British Airways i360 spokesperson said: “We would like to assure our customers that the fault has been resolved and the system has been fully tested.

“The safety and security of our passengers is our number one priority, and we would not operate the pod unless it was safe to do so. Remaining closed and running full systems checks before re-opening was the most prudent and reassuring thing to do.

“In any stoppage scenario, we will always bring the pod down to ground level as quickly and as safely as possible.

“In this situation, while customers were being cared for by our in-flight crew, technicians ran checks to ascertain the nature of the fault. The pod was then lowered back to the ground and the passengers disembarked. We would like to apologise to our customers and thank them for their patience.

“Our visitor numbers are consistent with the target parameters set out in the business plan and we recently reached 300,000.

“A recent survey for Visit Brighton showed that, among those surveyed, British Airways i360 was the most-visited paid-for attraction in the city. We are looking forward to a successful summer.”

Timeline

August 4 - i360 opens to the public after ten years in the pipeline

September 9 and 12 - i360 breaks down on three occasions. Closes for several days, and bosses say fault was down to a ‘load imbalance’

November 29 - CEO Eleanor Harris announces she is set to step down from the role, citing ‘poor rail services’ between London and Brighton as a factor

February 24 - ride breaks down due to damaged data ribbon, closes for several days

March 25 - i360 breaks down with visitors on board. Reopens four days later