Paris attack and tunnel fire take toll on Eurostar

 
Adam Hignett
Eurotunnel was hit hard by terrorism and a lorry fire
The strong pound, terror attacks in France and a Channel Tunnel fire resulted in a disappointing first quarter for Eurostar parent company Eurotunnel.

The train operator’s revenues fell six per cent during the first three months of 2015 compared to the previous year, it announced yesterday.

January proved to be a particularly tough month for the firm, which saw customer numbers fall in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and disruption from a lorry fire in the Channel Tunnel.

These events were compounded by the strength of sterling, which was 11 per cent higher during the quarter than during the same period last year.

Despite these setbacks, overall passenger numbers during the period remained flat on the previous year at 2.3m. Eurostar also said it was optimistic about future growth as the recovery in the Eurozone starts to boost passenger numbers, reflected by an increase in forward bookings for the summer.

The operator is also benefiting from its new direct south of France service, which stops at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille. The company said sales for the service, which will operate year-round from 1 May, are gaining momentum.

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive, of Eurostar, said: “We are on countdown to the launch of our new south of France service and ticket sales are gathering pace. Whilst the UK business market has been strong for some time, we are now seeing the same trend on the other side of the channel.” Shares closed up 0.32 per cent.

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