Eurostar passenger numbers flatline and profits down after Paris attacks

Passenger numbers flatlined at Eurostar last year while profits dropped by £21 million after it suffered a sharp drop in travellers following the Paris terrorist attacks in November.

The high speed rail service, which stops at Ebbsfleet and Ashford, said trading had picked up over the first two months of the year as confidence returned to train users.

It carried 10.4 million people between London and mainland Europe last year, the same number as in 2014.

A new Eurostar route has been announced
A new Eurostar route has been announced

Bosses said the strength of sterling impacted sales revenues, which fell 5% to £821 million, while underlying operating profit fell to £34 million from £55 million.

More disruption may lay ahead for the operation, with a ballot on strike action by rail union RMT closing today, potentially threatening services over the Easter break.

However, staff remained positive following the introduction of new e320 trains, able to carry 900 passengers compared to 750 on its original carriages.

Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “After a challenging end to 2015, trading is picking up and the outlook for the summer is positive.

“With our new state-of-the-art trains and highly competitive fares to a range of destinations, we expect this trend to gather momentum over the coming months.

“The successful introduction of our new fleet marks an important milestone for the business as it transforms the travel experience for our customers.

“Our e320 trains bring the ultimate in style and comfort alongside the latest in on-board digital connectivity for both business and leisure travellers.”

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