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Eurostar sales fall

Tunnel closure and recession to blame

[April 16, 2009]

Fast train

Eurostar has reported a drop in sales figures for the first three months of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

The high-speed train operator achieved sales of £168.1 million in the first quarter of 2009, down 5.8 per cent from £178.5 million in 2008.

Passenger numbers fell 11.5 per cent, with 1.92 million travelling in early 2009 compared to 2.17 million last year.

Eurostar blames the fall on the closure of the Channel Tunnel following the shuttle train fire last September as well as the global economic downturn.

Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said: “The downturn may be depressing business travel but it is having the opposite effect on the leisure market, with more people wanting to get away from it all to relax, recharge the batteries and spend time with loved ones.

“Our recently commissioned research shows travellers want transparent pricing and good value fares when they’re researching leisure breaks. They are fed up with extra charges, and they want the industry to be more honest about the real cost of travel..."

“Like other businesses, we must reduce our costs to meet the new economic realities. We are also preparing for the challenges and opportunities of on-rail competition from January 2010. We are determined to continue growing our markets and we will be fully ready to compete head-on with any new competitor on our routes.”

The Channel Tunnel re-opened on February 23 2009 and since then Eurostar has claimed a surge in leisure sales and punctuality of 96 per cent.

Written by: Maxine Clarke

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