The number of passengers using Eurostar swelled to 2.36m in the first quarter of this year, despite the high-speed passenger service grappling with widespread strikes across France.
Sales revenue was also up nine per cent from £232m to £253m this year. In April, Eurostar launched its new service from London St Pancras to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, linking the UK and the Netherlands in just three hours.
The operator, which connects the UK to mainland Europe, said the increase in those using its service was largely driven by the growing number of US travellers, which rose by 27 per cent over the first few months of this year.
It said more business customers are also opting to the use train over plane to cross the Channel. Eurostar saw a six per cent increase in business customers using its service in 2018.
Eurostar chief executive Mike Cooper said:
“We have made a positive start to the year and reported a good performance in the first quarter buoyed up by growth in the US and business markets. Our new service from London to Amsterdam has met with an enthusiastic response and demand is strong as customers welcome this compelling alternative to the airlines.”
Eurostar is one of many services to be hit by strikes called by French workers in protest against Emmanuel Macron's Labour reforms. It was forced to amend and cancel some of its services over the Easter holiday, and has warned passengers that strikes called for tomorrow and Thursday will also disrupt its services.
While it expects to run 80 per cent of its services, it warned that there were some cancellations from London to Paris and vice versa.