15/10/2013 Eurostar reports strong growth during the third quarter of 2013

15 Oct 2013

Sales revenues up 10% year-on-year to £207 million
Passenger numbers up 5% year-on-year to 2.7 million
Announcement of direct services to Amsterdam signals new phase in business growth

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service between the UK and mainland Europe today reported continued growth in both passenger numbers and sales revenues during the third quarter of 2013.  Compared to the same period in 2012, sales revenues grew by 10% to £207 million (£188 million Q3 2012), while passenger numbers rose 5% to 2.7 million (2.6 million Q3 2012).

Business travel market recovery gathering momentum
The impressive performance for the quarter comes amidst increasing signs that the economic recovery is beginning to take hold in the UK.  Within this context, Eurostar reports gathering momentum to the recovery in the business travel market reported in recent periods.

Not withstanding the traditional summer business ‘shut-down’, sales revenues generated from business travellers during the third quarter grew by 14% year-on year.  Even when taking into account the reduction in passenger traffic to London around the time of the 2012 Olympic Games, this is a strong result.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
Business traveller volumes have been growing steadily for several months and this quarter’s performance continues that encouraging trend.  As a bell-weather for the health of the wider UK economy, the growing strength of the corporate travel market gives us confidence in the business outlook to the year end.

A bumper summer for leisure traffic
Over the same period the leisure travel market has proved similarly robust with sales revenues up 9% year-on-year.  Contributing to the uplift in leisure sales revenues has been the success this year of Eurostar’s new ‘Route du Soleil’ service direct to Provence.

The new route, a trial which operated for eight weeks earlier in the summer, has had a positive impact on travellers’ perceptions of connecting travel with Eurostar and TGV services to and from the French regions.  Overall connecting traffic to the Lyon, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence region is up by 31% for the year-to-date versus the same period last year as awareness has grown amongst travellers of the possibilities of high-speed rail travel to and from London.

Impressive growth in international travel markets
The international travel market, comprising of passengers originating beyond Eurostar’s core European destinations, has demonstrated particularly strong growth with tickets sold during the quarter up 13% year-on-year.

The halo effect of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has seen a boom in international travellers choosing to visit the city following last year’s summer in the spotlight.  With increasing numbers of international visitors viewing a trip by Eurostar between London and either Paris and Brussels as an essential part of their European itinerary, passenger numbers have seen a significant uplift compared to the same quarter last year.

New direct service to Amsterdam
Eurostar announced recently ambitious new plans to launch direct services for holidays to Amsterdam.  In partnership with the Dutch railways, services are expected to commence in December 2016 with journey times of around four hours.

The new direct route will revolutionise travel between the capital cities in the same way as Eurostar services have done for travel between London and Paris and Brussels.  The news is the latest in a series of announcements which confirm Eurostar’s ambitions to encourage more people to make the switch from air to high-speed rail travel.

Nicolas Petrovic, continued:
We have entered an exciting new chapter in our expansion plans characterised by new routes and new services.  The addition of Amsterdam to our list of European capital cities will be transformational for our business and the development of international high-speed rail travel across Europe.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

Definitions:

  • Sales revenue is the value of ticket bookings made during the period. This revenue is only recognised in the income statement at the date on which the passenger actually travels
  • Passenger volumes reflect the number of travellers carried by Eurostar in the period.

East Coast bid:

  • Eurostar and Keolis, one of Europe’s leading transport operators, recently announced their intention to launch a joint bid for the UK East Coast rail franchise.
  • The successful bidder for the franchise is expected to be awarded a contract in October 2014, with the franchise commencing in February 2015.
  • Keolis will be the lead partner in the bidding consortium while a minority share will be held by Eurostar, the high-speed international rail operator.  The franchise will operate under a new, distinct brand.
  • The combination of Keolis’ proven franchise management skills and bid expertise, coupled with Eurostar’s record of customer service delivery and product innovation presents a compelling proposition for the future growth of East Coast services.

About Eurostar:

  • Eurostar continues to innovate and enhance its service and the investments it is making over the next two years will shape the business for future growth.  The £700 million investment in creating a new fleet of trains remains on track with the production of Eurostar’s new e320 trainsets and the refurbishment of its existing fleet progressing well.  Both the refurbished and new train sets are being delivered to a design created by Pininfarina, the world-famous Italian design house, and the business looks forward to presenting its customers with a completely new fleet by 2015.
  • Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  • Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.
  • The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 130 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet.