Paris attacks take toll on Eurostar profits

Paris attacks take toll on Eurostar profits

Passenger numbers using Eurostar stagnated at 2014 levels of 10.4 million last year as the Paris terrorist attacks hit travel levels and sent profits tumbling.

The high speed Channel Tunnel passenger service suffered a “sharp drop” in carryings in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks in November.

However, trading has started to pick up over the first two months of the year and forward bookings for the summer are looking positive, the company said.

The strength of sterling impacted sales revenues throughout 2015. Sales revenues at constant exchange rates were flat year-on-year whereas at actual rates sales revenues reduced by 5% to £821 million.

The underlying operating profit for the year fell by £21 million to £34 million due to adverse currency movements and costs relating to disruptions in 2015.

Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “After a challenging end to 2015, trading is picking up and the outlook for the summer is positive.

“With our new state-of-the-art trains and highly competitive fares to a range of destinations, we expect this trend to gather momentum over the coming months.”

Eurostar is introducing eight new e320 trains on the London-Paris route with new on board entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Carrying 900 passengers against 750 on the original Eurostar trains, the e320 trains will boost capacity by 20%.

The increased seat capacity on the e320 means Eurostar is offering its most competitive fares ever with a lead-in of £29 one way to Paris/Brussels/Lille and fares from £37 to destinations across France, Holland and Belgium.

Passengers will be able to access more than 300 hours of TV shows and films by connecting their mobile phone or tablet to the free on-board Wi-Fi.

The system will also provide news, games, a special children’s zone and a live moving location map.

Petrovic said: “The successful introduction of our new fleet marks an important milestone for the business as it transforms the travel experience for our customers.

“Our e320 trains bring the ultimate in style and comfort alongside the latest in on-board digital connectivity for both business and leisure travellers.”

Eurostar is introducing 17 new e320 trains over the next three years and is refurbishing its original trains.


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