Busiest ever Christmas and New Year period helps Eurostar to a record 2004

5 Jan 2005
  • 7.27 million passengers carried - up 15% on 2003
  • Punctuality of 89.2% - up 10.9% on 2003
  • Sales of £433m - up 15% on 2003
  • Substantial product investment planned for 2005

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK with France and Belgium, saw record passenger numbers, punctuality and sales figures in 2004. The performance was boosted by the company's busiest ever Christmas and New Year period, in which 250,000 passengers were carried.
7,276,675 passengers travelled on Eurostar in 2004, up 15% on 2003. Expected sales in 2004 were £433 million, up 15% on the year before (£376 million).
Eurostar's highest monthly market share in 2004 was 68% on the London-Paris and 63% on the London-Brussels air/rail routes.
A total of 61 million people have travelled on Eurostar since its first service in November 1994.
Punctuality in 2004 was 89.2%, up 10.9% on the same period last year (78.3%) and the best-ever annual punctuality figure recorded by Eurostar. This compares with much lower punctuality rates for airline competitors operating on the London / Paris / Brussels routes.
Due to substantial demand, Eurostar ran 17 extra trains over the Christmas and New Year period as many travellers chose either to visit family and friends or spend money on a French or Belgian citybreak during the festive season.
Eurostar's improved performance is largely down to the opening of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in 2003, market-leading punctuality, extra daily services and better-value fares. A fresh strategy, focusing on business travellers, has also helped to increase passenger numbers, with an 18.5% increase in UK business sales on the same period last year.
Paul Charles, Director of Communications, Eurostar, said: "Eurostar has set new, higher standards for short-haul carriers over the last year. These record figures prove that business and leisure travellers have recognised the transformation in our service."
"We are not seeing customers downgrade or switch to low-cost airlines - they are choosing to travel in high-speed comfort and style by train. In 2005, we will invest more in our onboard product, in a climate where many airline competitors are investing less in their short-haul service."
Substantial product changes are planned by Eurostar during 2005 - including the introduction of Wi-Fi technology onboard; the separation of business and leisure passengers in first class; completion of the onboard refurbishment programme and new-look catering in first class.
Eurostar will also be working on detailed plans for its move in 2007 to St. Pancras International - when its entire service will move out of Waterloo International. New stations will be opened at Stratford International and near Dartford in Kent, to complement the existing Ashford International.
Editor's Notes:
1. Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar was named "Train Operator of the Year" at the National Rail Awards 2004; "World's Leading Rail Service" in the 2003 and 2004 World Travel Awards; "Best Rail Network" at the Business Travel World Awards 2004 and "Best Rail Operator" at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards 2004.
3. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
4. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com , call 08705 186186 or contact your travel agent.
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For more information:
Eurostar Press Office+44 (0)20 7922 4494press.office@eurostar.co.uk