Eurostar Benefits From Surge In Business Travellers

7 Apr 2005
  • 1.69 million passengers carried in 1st Quarter – up 5.5% on 2004
  • Quarterly sales of £116m – up 10% on 2004
  • 10% growth in business ticket sales
  • Record Easter period contributes to leisure sales growth

Eurostar, the high-speed train operator that links the UK with France and Belgium, continued its recent run of strong growth in the first quarter of 2005, with a 5.5% increase in passenger numbers over the same period last year and 10% higher expected sales.
Factors behind the growth included a large increase in business customers, a shift towards high-speed train travel rather than air for short-haul journeys and record sales over Easter.
1.695 million passengers were carried through the Channel Tunnel in the first three months of 2005, with expected sales of £116m.
During the quarter, Eurostar hit record punctuality of 97.58% for performance over one week. Until the end of February, punctuality for the quarter was running at 91% but bad weather in south-east England and northern France hampered air and rail services, bringing the quarterly figure down to 83%, compared with 89% in the same period last year. This still compares with much lower punctuality rates for airline competitors operating on the London / Paris / Brussels routes.
Paul Charles, Director of Communications, Eurostar, said: "Eurostar is becoming the short-haul carrier of choice for millions of Europeans who prefer seamless, less stressful travel. Passengers also prefer transparent pricing when they book their tickets rather than booking with airlines who bundle in all sorts of charges after the initial price given."
Business passengers have been choosing Eurostar above airlines since the company re-focused its strategy last year. Mr. Charles added: "Fast check-in, power sockets on board the refurbished trains in first class, comfortable business lounges and better punctuality have helped to attract more passengers.
"We will go on investing in our product – over half our trains have now been refurbished and we will be announcing further product changes later this year, which will benefit business and leisure passengers alike."
In 2007, Eurostar will be switching its entire operation from Waterloo International to St. Pancras International, after the Channel Tunnel Rail Link has been completed. Journey times will be even faster with Brussels just 1h53m away from London and Paris just 2h15m.
Construction work at St. Pancras and along the Channel Tunnel Rail Link continues on schedule and as planned.
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 186 186 or contact your travel agent.
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For more information:Eurostar Press Office+44 (0)20 7922 4494press.office@eurostar.co.uk or check Eurostar in the UK