Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, saw passenger numbers rise by 6% to 4.6 million and revenues increase by 18% to £404 million during the first half of 2010. This growth is due in part to the impact of the ash cloud disruption but also reflects a strengthening of the business market and an underlying increase in both business and leisure travellers during the period.
Growth in passengers travelling beyond core routes
Over the last six months there has been a notable increase in the number of passengers choosing Eurostar and high speed rail as an alternative to short haul air travel in Europe. Shorter journey times to the South of France, Germany and the Netherlands2 are prompting customers to take advantage of the ease and comfort of city centre to city centre travel.
The number of international passengers is also on the increase as visitors from the US and Australia, in particular, see travelling by Eurostar as an integral part of their European tour. June reported a very strong performance in international sales revenues which were up 24% in comparison to the same period last year.
Extra summer services to meet demand
To meet the increase in demand for its services over the summer, Eurostar today announced that during August it will put on 20 extra trains - four each weekend - to and from Paris with every seat available at a special price of £69 return. Tickets for these additional trains are on sale from today.3
Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
“Over the last six months, we have delivered strong growth in both business and leisure bookings. As the economic environment has strengthened we have seen an uplift in the business market and an overall increase in the number of passengers travelling.
“Whilst our core routes continue to be busy more and more people are opting to travel further afield and explore new destinations by train. Forward bookings are looking strong and with the increasing appetite for high speed rail travel in Europe, the trend looks set to continue.”