Eurostar, the high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today announced a continued increase in overall sales revenue in 2010 compared with 2009.
Sales revenue for the year is up 12% on 2009, from £675.5m to £760m.
This uplift is due to the continued recovery of the business market that has been a trend through the year as well as growth in the overall number of passengers choosing high-speed rail over plane for short-haul travel in Europe.
Healthy growth in business revenues
During the year the business market has performed well reflecting the bounce-back in business activity first reported in the second quarter. This increase underlines growing recognition among business travellers of the ease, speed and comfort of high speed rail travel, and the value of productive working time whilst in transit.
Overall passenger numbers on the increase
The number of passengers travelling on Eurostar in 2010 rose to 9.5 million compared with 9.2 million during 2009, an increase of over 3%.
The growth is due to the increasing number of people opting for high speed rail for short haul European travel and choosing to travel beyond Paris and Brussels to destinations in Holland, Germany and the South of France.
Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said:
“We have reported a strong performance in 2010 with growth in both sales revenues and passenger numbers. The turnaround in the business market continued in the second half of the year. We are also starting to see a real shift in behaviour as customers are increasingly keen to explore new destinations by high speed rail.”
2010: A transformational year for Eurostar
On September 1st 2010, Eurostar achieved its ambition of transforming its business from a partnership between three railways – SNCF, LCR and SNCB – to a single, unified corporate entity. This new structure puts Eurostar in a strong position to compete in an open-access world of on-rail competition.
At the same time, Eurostar also announced a major capital investment of £700m in its fleet. This programme of investment which begins in 2011 includes the complete overhaul and redesign of its existing fleet as well as the purchase of 10 new trains. The new Eurostar e320 trains will be equipped to travel direct to a range of city centre destinations beyond Eurostar’s main routes of London-Paris and London-Brussels.
Nicolas Petrovic added:
“This is an exciting time for our passengers and our industry. With the expansion of new routes and services we are witnessing a real renaissance in rail travel. The combination of shorter journey times and environmental concerns are prompting more and more customers to choose high speed rail over plane. As the key link between the UK and the continent we see considerable potential for growth and expansion in an open-access world.”