Eurostar has reported a strong performance in 2013 with continued increases in both passenger numbers and sales revenues during a year which saw the business celebrate two record breaking passenger milestones.
Passenger numbers grew two per cent in 2013 to 10.1 million, marking the first time that Eurostar has carried more than ten million passengers in a single year.
The milestone was achieved as the business enters its twentieth year of operation and brings to 140 million the total number of passengers who have travelled with Eurostar since services began in 1994.
Over the same period, sales revenues grew seven per cent to £857 million reflecting emerging stability in the UK corporate travel market and strong growth in UK leisure ticket sales revenues.
This growth in sales revenues has driven an increase in profitability and Eurostar today reports an operating profit of £54 million, up four per cent year-on-year.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive, Eurostar, said: “Last year proved to be a record breaking year for Eurostar and we are pleased with the sustainable growth in both traveller numbers and sales revenues reported today.
“After a period of economic uncertainty we are now starting to see more confidence in the business market.
“In comparison with this time last year when the overriding sentiment was still very cautious there are more encouraging trends and in some sectors there is clearly a greater appetite to invest and look for business.“
Leisure traveller sales revenues grew by an impressive 7.5 per cent in 2013 as Eurostar’s focus on its expanding network of routes and destinations continues to convert more travellers to the benefits of high-speed rail over air travel.
The success and popularity of Eurostar’s trial service during the summer, the Route du Soleil, direct to Lyon and Provence in the South of France has led to the introduction of a permanent, year-round service from 2015.
Tickets will be available for sale towards the end of 2014 with the first services departing in the spring of 2015.
Continuing this momentum, Eurostar also announced in 2013 the launch of a brand new direct service between London and Amsterdam in partnership with the Dutch railways.
With services expected to commence towards the end of 2016 and journey times of around only four hours, Eurostar plans to revolutionise travel between these capital cities.
The London–Amsterdam route is the largest, international airline market in Europe attracting over three million business and leisure passengers annually and the announcement represents a significant step forward in Eurostar’s expansion plans.
With a series of economic indicators pointing towards recovery in UK economy and early signs of stabilisation in the Eurozone, business travel also grew strongly in 2013.
Business sales revenues rose 6.2 per cent year-on-year, the increase pointing towards growing demand for services from business travellers, particularly those based in the UK where the recovery has a stronger foothold.
Throughout 2013, the number of international travellers choosing to join a Eurostar service continued to boom leading to an increase in international sales revenues of 18 per cent.
This impressive growth underlines the trend reported in previous quarters and demonstrates the significant potential in the international market.