Record year for Eurostar as business travellers switch from airlines

16 Jan 2006
  • Sales of £464m - up 7% on 2004
  • 7.5 million travellers carried – 14% year-on-year increase in business travellers
  • Market shares at record highs
  • 10th daily service to Brussels to launch in February

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK with France and Belgium, saw record sales and traveller numbers in 2005 as an innovative new product strategy attracted thousands more business customers.
The increase in "Business Premier" traffic, with 14% more business tickets sold than in 2004, shows that Eurostar appears to have become the carrier of choice for business travellers, resulting in some airlines removing their business-class products on short-haul European routes.
Expected sales in 2005 were £463.8 million, up 7% on the year before (£433 million). Eurostar's trade partners, including travel management companies, tour operators and travel agents, generated over 40% of these sales whilst a further 30% of tickets were booked via Eurostar.com.
In total, 7.45 million travellers chose Eurostar in 2005, up 2.4% on 2004. Eurostar has now carried more than 68 million people since it started services in 1994.
During the year, Eurostar recorded its highest ever market share, taking 71% of the London-Paris and 64% of the London-Brussels air/rail routes.
Punctuality in 2005, at 86.3%, was much better than the punctuality rates of airline competitors operating on the London / Paris / Brussels routes. Recent data from the Civil Aviation Authority shows that punctuality at Heathrow Airport has remained below 70%.
To meet growing demand, a 10th daily weekday service is being introduced between London and Brussels, beginning on February 13th, further easing onward connections to Amsterdam and Cologne. In addition, to help travellers wishing to book further ahead, Eurostar tickets can now be bought up to 4 months before travel.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, commented: "Our focus on business travellers is paying off. We're delivering the full premier service they need in order to be prepared for the business day ahead. As some airlines cut out their business-class cabins, they're also cutting out their customers."
Mr. Brown added: "As demand for Eurostar grows, we'll continue to add more services, such as the new 10th daily weekday train to and from Brussels. Our mission is clear – to bring long-haul standards to short-haul travel."
During 2006, Eurostar expects to benefit from more travellers visiting London and Paris because of the release of the film version of The Da Vinci Code. Bookings are also expected to be strengthened by travel to and from the World Cup football tournament in Germany in June and July.
Eurostar continues to make detailed plans for its move to St. Pancras International in 2007 – when its entire service will switch from Waterloo. The government has announced that Eurostar's existing platforms will be converted for use by domestic train services into and out of Waterloo.
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 has won the title of "World's Leading Rail Service" for the last eight years at the World Travel Awards.
3. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
4. In 2007, Eurostar will switch to St. Pancras International. Journey times will fall further with London-Paris down to 2h 15m; London-Brussels 1h 51m and London-Lille just 1h20m.
5. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com , call 08705 186186 or contact your travel agent.
- ends -
For more information:
Eurostar Press Office+44 (0)20 7922 4494press.office@eurostar.co.uk