ZIP World has said it hopes to launch its new Rhyl-based attraction, the “Skyflyer”, during the February half-term next year after plans for its take-off this summer were scuppered.

The airship, to be located along the beachfront, was due to open on August 3, after its launch was delayed from July 21 due to wind and weather conditions not being ideal to perform its first full inflation.

But an “engineering and design challenge” found during testing led the company to announce on August 2 that it would not be possible to launch this year, and were instead hoping to open it in “early 2023”.

Today (August 5), Zip World has said its aim is to launch by the half-term week next February.

A Zip World statement said: “While we’re aiming for a February half-term launch date, we are not currently in a position to confirm a new launch date just yet.”

The attraction had been inflated on July 27, but was then deflated on August 1 after its official launch had been postponed.

Rhyl Journal: The deflated Zip World Skyflyer in RhylThe deflated Zip World Skyflyer in Rhyl

When the Skyflyer launches, visitors will be elevated 400ft in the air and can enjoy panoramic views of the North Wales coast and beyond.

A document in the Skyflyer's planning application, submitted to Denbighshire County Council, states: "The balloon is anticipated to carry up to 30 passengers and one operator vertically to 120m and descend over a time period of eight minutes.

"It is anticipated it will be operational all year round, from 10am to 8pm in summer, and 10am to 3pm in winter."

Meanwhile, the MP and MS for Vale of Clwyd, James and Gareth Davies respectively, have spoken of their disappointment at the postponement of the Skyflyer’s launch, but still have hopes for the attraction when it eventually opens.

Gareth Davies MS said: “It’s, of course, disappointing that the Zip World Skyflyer Launch has now been pushed back until next year, but I appreciate that user safety and experience is vitally important.

“It must have been difficult for Zip World to come to this very public decision, and I respect that they have put these priorities ahead of rushing to meet deadlines.

“The Skyflyer’s arrival had aroused excitement and created a buzz locally, with many heading down to the prom to see the giant inflatable first-hand.

“It is great to see unique attractions and positive investment such as this coming into Rhyl for both local use and to help in boosting the tourism market.

“It's so important that we keep attracting private investment into this town and encourage more people to visit our wonderful seaside and all this area has to offer.

“I look forward to the Skyflyer launching as soon as it is ready and safe to do so.”

James Davies MP also addressed concerns that the Skyflyer could prove an eyesore – one resident of East Parade, opposite where it was inflated last week, labelled it “ugly” to the Journal and said it ruined the views of the sea from their house.

Rhyl Journal: The view of the Skyflyer from the resident's bedroom windowThe view of the Skyflyer from the resident's bedroom window

James Davies MP said: “Clearly, it is disappointing that the opening of this new £1million+ attraction has been delayed until February half-term.

“I am awaiting a full briefing on the matter but my understanding is that Zip World remain 100 per cent committed to Rhyl and that the delay is down to an engineering solution being sought for an unexpected issue.

“In terms of the appearance of the Skyflyer, I understand residents' concerns and have been reassured that, when in operation, it will be moored at 30 metres of height, except in the most extreme of weather conditions.

“In addition, I have received a pledge that there will be concessionary rates for local people to enjoy the attraction out of season.”

Justine Evans and Barry Mellor, councillors for the Rhyl East ward in which the Skyflyer is situated, also addressed concerned raised by nearby residents.

Cllr Evans said: “Rhyl certainly needs new attractions and I was pleased when Zip World first showed an interest in coming to the town.

“They are a reputable company with a successful track record of providing fun attractions which bring people from far and wide to North Wales, and I do believe their presence in Rhyl will be beneficial.

“However, I do question whether the location for the Skyflyer is the right one, and feel for residents who live in this part of Rhyl, some of whom have had their lovely sea views blocked.

“I am also concerned that the Skyflyer may spoil the experience for those visiting 1891 (bar and restaurant).

“It is certainly a great idea, though, and it is disappointing that its launch has now been delayed until next year.

“Hopefully, when it does finally open, it will be a huge success and will play an instrumental part in helping to restore the town.”

READ MORE:

Zip World’s Skyflyer now to launch in Rhyl in 2023

Zip World’s new Skyflyer in Rhyl deflated after launch postponement

Zip World’s Skyflyer launch in Rhyl postponed due to ‘engineering and design challenge’

Zip World’s new Skyflyer attraction inflated prior to Rhyl launch

What to expect from Zip World’s North Wales attractions set to launch

 

Cllr Mellor added: “It was a major blow to so many residents and visitors alike to hear the news that there was a design problem with the Zip World Skyflyer, but being as professional as they are, they obviously put people’s safety first.

“Although it is a disappointment for so many people, I am sure it will bounce back next year.

“As all things new to a seaside resort, there are always people for these things and people against.

“I understand the worries of the residents who live on the promenade, but they have not seen the Skyflyer in its correct mooring.

“It has been lower over the first couple of weeks as work had to be done on it.

“It is a shame it has gone for now, but let us not be too disgruntled: we have the Rhyl Air Show to look forward to at the end of the month.”

Rhyl Journal: The Skyflyer is inflated by Rhyl's Pavilion Theatre. Photo: Kathryn JeffreyThe Skyflyer is inflated by Rhyl's Pavilion Theatre. Photo: Kathryn Jeffrey

Customers who had made bookings for Skyflyer were due to have been contacted directly by Zip World by August 1 to arrange refunds.

The attraction will be accessible to all, including wheelchair users, and features other support equipment for those with disabilities.

Next to the Skyflyer will be “Big Red”, the largest mobile zip line in the world, allowing people to ride alongside each other from 270ft.

Elsewhere, readers took to the Journal’s Facebook page earlier this week to share their reactions that the Skyflyer’s launch had been postponed.

One person wrote: “To be fair, those houses would not have had a sea view since the 1970s due to Rhyl Sun Centre being right opposite for several decades.

“This will be great for Rhyl when it takes off; hopefully it won't be long.”

Another added: “Similar contraptions at Disney resorts are always down because of weather issues, so it seemed ambitious to prebook online.

“I hope it gets sorted for next year. (It is a) shame the residents don't like it, but retaining a view is never a guarantee when home-owning. My son would love it outside our house.”

Meanwhile, Zip World also launched “Underground Golf” at its site in Llechwedd on July 29.

The attraction, the world’s first of its kind, takes visitors 500ft below the ground to enjoy its 18-hole course.