Eurostar says extra runways will be a 'dent in the side' of low-cost air travel

16 Dec 2003

Eurostar today gave a warm welcome to the Government's White Paper on air transport but predicted that air passengers will end up paying for more runway capacity. The high-speed rail operator is praised in the report for offering "an attractive alternative to short-haul air services" (section 4.52).
"The cost of building ultimately unnecessary new airport infrastructure at Stansted and possibly Heathrow will be passed on to air passengers, leading to the demise of low-cost air travel. The alternative of high-speed rail travel will look increasingly popular as passengers switch from higher-priced airlines. We already carry more passengers than all the airlines put together on the London-Paris route and look forward to increasing this as journey times will again be cut when the second section of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link opens in 2007," said Paul Charles, director of communications, Eurostar.
The White Paper highlighted high-speed rail's "dramatic effect" (section 4.53) on air services in France. The introduction of high-speed lines in France have had a dramatic effect on air services, especially between on the Paris-Brussels route, where there are now just two flights a day operating.
Paul Charles continued: "Precedent in Europe shows how well a reliable and competitively priced city-centre to city-centre high speed rail service competes against the so-called low-cost airlines. The Department for Transport has been very supportive during the ongoing construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and we are pleased to have our contribution to the debate recognised."
Environmental campaigners have also been highlighting Eurostar as the 'green' alternative to short-haul air travel following their submissions in response to the Government's consultation paper issued earlier this year.