Eurostar, the high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reported a positive first quarter in 2017. Sales revenues were up 15% year-on-year (£232 million 2017: £201 million 2016) underpinned by a strong performance in the business travel and overseas markets. Passenger numbers for the period were up by 2% (2.27m 2017: 2.23m 2016).
Boost in demand from markets outside Europe
The increase in travellers originating from markets outside Europe that was reported in the early part of this year continued throughout quarter 1 with the number of passengers from the US and the rest of the world growing by 13% and 18% respectively.
Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: “The last quarter has been marked by a resurgence in the number of overseas travellers coming to Europe, buoyed up in part by the favourable exchange rates. With our new-state-of-the-art trains offering increased capacity, we are well-placed to take advantage of the growth in visitors coming to our destinations.”
Strong performance in business travel
The business travel market is proving robust with the overall volume of business travellers up by 6% in the first three months of the year. This trend is particularly true of the UK, where the volume of business passengers has risen by 9% year-on-year in the first quarter.
The combination of wifi connectivity, productive working time onboard and a new business lounge in Paris, is reinforcing the convenience and ease of high speed rail for the business traveller.
Major investment in the London-Brussels service
Over the last year Eurostar has made a significant investment in the London-Brussels service. In addition to an extensive renovation of the Eurostar terminal, the company is now introducing the new e320 trains on the London-Brussels route.
From the end of May, passengers travelling between London and Brussels will see a step-change in the travel experience with the enhanced style, technology and features of the new Eurostar fleet.
The introduction of the e320 on the Brussels route and the upgrading of the Eurostar space in Brussels-Midi station are the latest in a series of investments that Eurostar is making in its trains, its stations and its service.