Challenging Q2 for Eurostar following Brexit & Brussels attacks

1120x560_imagery_new_fleet_0

Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reported a challenging second quarter of 2016, as business demand softened in the run-up to the EU referendum and leisure traffic continued to be impacted by the Brussels terrorist attacks.

Uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with Europe has resulted in a drop in business travel, whilst on the leisure market there has been a continued slowdown in traffic from international markets, the USA and Japan in particular. Passenger numbers in the second quarter of the year were down 3% compared to last year (2.7 million Q2 2016: 2.8 million: Q2 2015) and sales revenues were 10% lower year-on-year (£208 million Q2 2016: £232 million Q2 2015).

In the month of June,  the number of travellers increased by 2% following an increase in demand during Euro 2016. With three quarters of the matches being staged in Eurostar destinations, over a million passengers travelled by high-speed rail, with fans from across Europe creating a celebratory atmosphere in stations, on board and in the host cities. The success of the Welsh team boosted travel in the final stages of the tournament, as thousands of Welsh fans chose to take the train to the game.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
In the run up to the EU referendum we experienced a slowdown in business travel and the uncertainty following the vote to leave, combined with the Brussels terrorist attack, has continued to dampen demand. At the same time, as a business trading on both sides of the Channel, a drop in the pound typically drives an increase in demand for leisure travel from the continent as customers take advantage of lower cost trips to London.

Transformation of Gare du Nord in Paris
Over the coming months, passengers can look forward to a complete transformation of the Eurostar space at Gare du Nord with the redesign and extension of the departure area and the opening of a new business lounge set to be unveiled towards the end of 2016.

The new look lounge will transform the experience  for business travellers and will include a brand new catering offer from Eurostar’s Business Premier culinary director, Raymond Blanc.
This refurbishment forms part of a wider regeneration plan at Paris Nord, which will see a range of new shops and restaurants opening next year.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
The transformation of Gare du Nord and the opening of our new business lounge mark the next phase of our investment in our stations and our commitment to giving our customers the best possible experience at every stage of their journey.

With a lead-in price  from just £29 one way, no additional charges for luggage or seats and a direct link between city centres, Eurostar represents a highly competitive alternative to travelling by plane.   For more information visit www.eurostar.com

Eurostar reports strong forward bookings for Euro 2016 as fans take the train to the game

10389563_10153001686226426_5324197851244480561_n

Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reports strong forward bookings for the Euro 2016 tournament as football fever kicks in.  With direct high-speed Eurostar services to the main host cities including Lille, Paris, Lyon and Marseille, nearly half a million passengers from across the UK are scheduled to travel during the tournament.

Over the last few weeks Eurostar has seen a surge in ticket sales, with June 10th proving to be the busiest day as the hosts open the tournament in the Stade de France in Paris.  With the successful introduction of Eurostar’s new fleet of e320 trains at the end of 2015, football fans can now connect to the free onboard wifi and entertainment system to follow their team whilst on the move.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:

We have seen an unprecedented demand from football supporters keen to get the Euros by train. With our city-centre to city-centre services and a brand new state-of-the art fleet of trains, we are ideally placed to carry fans from the UK direct to the heart of the action in France.

Challenging first quarter of 2016

The strong bookings for Euro 2016 follow a challenging first quarter of the year. Travellers remain cautious following the terrorist attacks in Brussels and demand is dampened.

The impact has been particularly evident in international markets with Eurostar reporting a slowdown in travellers from the US and Asia. As a result, passenger numbers in the first three months of the year were 2.2 million, a 3% reduction on the same period last year (2.3 million: Q1 2015) and sales revenues were 6% lower year on year (£201 million Q1 2016: £215 million Q1 2015).

Testing for the new London-Amsterdam service

Plans for the launch of Eurostar’s new route between London and Amsterdam are gathering momentum as the new e320 train was tested on the Dutch network for the first time last month.  The journey marked the initial phase of a comprehensive testing programme with commercial services expected to start at the end of next year.

With journey times of around four hours and a city-centre to city-centre service, Eurostar will revolutionise travel between these capital cities offering a comfortable and convenient alternative to the airlines.

Nicolas Petrovic continued:

The start of testing for the e320 on the Dutch network marks a major milestone in the run-up to the launch our new service.  With over 3 million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this new route is key to our growth plans.  Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service is set to transform travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”

With a lead-in price  from just £29 one way, no additional charges for luggage or seats and a direct link between city centres, Eurostar represents a highly competitive alternative to travelling by plane.   For more information visit www.eurostar.com