Signs of sales recovery as Eurostar heads towards 15th anniversary

15 Oct 2009

Ticket sales up 6.8% in Q3 2009 compared to Q3 2008
Signs of an upturn in business travel market
Eurostar, the provider of high-speed, carbon neutral rail journeys between the UK and the Continent, today announced its Quarter 3 2009 results which report some recovery in sales.
Whilst sales and revenues for the year to date are down slightly and the business travel environment remains challenging, overall sales revenue in Q3 2009 is up 6.8% on the same period last year. This uplift is due to the impact of the fire on a shuttle in the Channel Tunnel in September last year which depressed the Q3 2008 results, helped by growth in the leisure market and a bottoming-out in the decline of business sales.
Overall ticket sales between January and September 2009 totalled £504.9 million and since the beginning of the year Eurostar has welcomed 6.9 million travellers. Whilst this is down 0.9% on 2008, the volume of passengers travelling in Q3 2009 went up to 2.6 million from 2.4 million 2008. This sees an 11% increase in passengers travelling outbound from the UK and a 7% increase of passengers travelling inbound from the Continent year on year.
The increase reflects the success of the 'Little Break, Big Difference' advertising campaign which has encouraged UK travellers to treat themselves for as little as the £59 return fare – Eurostar's lead in fare which has stayed the same for the last six years.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said:"Today's figures show that despite tough times, people are increasingly realising the great benefit of travelling with Eurostar.
"These individuals are part of what we call the 'Eurostar Generation'; travellers who over the past decade and a half have experienced significant changes to the way they live, work and play as the network of high-speed rail services steadily grows."
Brown also said that whilst the economic climate remains difficult there are signs that the worst might be over for the business market:
"In recent weeks a number of our major corporate clients have eased their business travel restrictions. Although it is early days, this may be a sign of an upturn."
Note to editors:
1. Eurostar started operating high-speed passenger train services directly linking the UK to France and Belgium, on the 14th November 1994.
2. Since Eurostar returned to full service in February 2009, punctuality levels have remained high with 95% of trains arriving on time.
3. Eurostar is a joint venture of SNCF (French Railways), Eurostar UK Ltd (owned by London & Continental Railways) and SNCB (Belgian Railways). It provides high-speed rail journeys between St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
4. Eurostar connects with domestic services in the UK and provides onward connections to destinations across mainland Europe. Travellers can buy connecting fares to the Continent from more than 200 stations with return fares from £63, including Brighton from £71 and Edinburgh from £92. Eurostar's lead-in fare of £59 return from London to Brussels and Paris has gone unchanged for more than six years.
5. Under its Tread Lightly environmental plan, Eurostar has set a target of reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 35% per traveller journey by 2012. Because emissions cannot yet be eliminated, Eurostar is also the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral, at no extra cost to travellers. Research commissioned by Eurostar in 2006 and repeated in 2009 has shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris/Brussels generates just one-tenth of the CO2 of an equivalent flight.
6. Eurostar and Friends of the Earth are working together in the UK on Eurostar's Tread Lightly initiative and Friends of the Earth's climate campaign. To find out more about Friends of the Earth visit www.friendsoftheearth.co.uk.
7. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
8. Eurostar is an entirely separate business from Eurotunnel. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, whilst Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.
9. To book tickets or for more travel information, please visit www.eurostar.com or call 08705 186 186.
For more information contact:
Eurostar Press Office
Eurostar
t:0044 (0)20 7843 5500
e:press.office@eurostar.co.uk