Eurostar saw first quarter sales revenues drop by 6% to €215 million as passenger numbers stagnated due to January’s terrorist attacks in Paris and a lorry fire in the Channel Tunnel.
Carryings for the three months to March remained static year-on-year at 2.3 million, although the number of business travellers rose by 7%.
“Whilst January was challenging, trading returned to a more normalised pattern in the course of the quarter,” the high speed passenger rail company said.
“Eurostar reported high levels of traffic during a record Easter holiday period and the company is seeing a strong year-on-year increase in forward bookings for the summer period.
“The increase in business passengers which was underpinned last year by the recovery in the UK economy is now starting to take hold on the continent.
“This trend is testament to the increasing enthusiasm among business customers for choosing the ease of high speed rail over plane and the growing attraction of the Eurostar Business Premier offer.”
Ticket sales for a new route to the south of France starting on May 1, with stops at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, are “gathering momentum” as the new route continues to grow in popularity, Eurostar said.
Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “We are on countdown to the launch of our new south of France service and ticket sales are gathering pace.
“Whilst the UK business market has been strong for some time, we are now seeing the same trend on the other side of the channel.
“With forward bookings up on this time last year we are gearing up for a busy summer period.”
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