Double Dutch: Eurostar enters passenger battle with new service to Holland
Eurostar is to go Dutch with a new direct rail service to Amsterdam - potentially setting itself as potential rival to Manston Airport.
The company has announced it will start the twice daily direct route from 2016 between London and Amsterdam and say it is likely passengers will be able to join the service at Ashford and Ebbsfleet.
The move will place Eurostar in competition for business from Manston International Airport, which in May began a twice-daily service to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam operated by KLM. In a statement, Manston said it was unconcerned.
Charles Buchanan, chief executive of Manston Airport
Manston chief executive Charles Buchanan said: “With more than three years to go before this ‘first step’ could become a reality, we do not see this as either an immediate or long term challenge to the and convenient service we offer.
"There will always be people who prefer to take the train rather than fly but we do not see Eurostar’s service as a great threat.”
Eurostar says journey times are expected to be around four hours and will compete with one of largest international airline markets in Europe, which attracts over three million business and leisure passengers.
A spokeswoman for the company said no decisions had been made about the route but confirmed the two Kent stations were likely to feature.
Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar chief executive, said: “We have long been ambitious for expansion to new destinations so this announcement marks a major advance in our growth plans.
"With over three million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this is one of Europe’s most popular routes.
'With over three million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this is one of Europe’s most popular routes'
"Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service will greatly enhance the links between the UK and the near continent, revolutionising travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”
Services will run via Brussels to Amsterdam stopping at Antwerp, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal.
The agreement has been submitted to the Dutch parliament for ratification, a process which a Eurostar expects to be completed within the next few months.
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