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Record Year for Eurostar

UK.WEBTRAINS.NET
01/12/2011 AT 06:00

Sales topped half a billion pounds for the first time, rising 11.7% from £ 463.8 million to £ 518.3 million. North American sales of Eurostar tickets by Rail Europe, Eurostar's official North American representative, increased 6% for the year, with exceptionally strong sales August-December, with an average monthly increase of 30%. A total of 7.86 million travelers chose Eurostar in 2006, up 5.4% over 2005. Of those, more than 200,000 bought tickets in North America from Rail Europe. Globally, the largest increase (17%) was in the number of passengers buying fully flexible Business Premier tickets. Rail Europe reports similarly a growth in the number of higherpriced flexible tickets sold in North America. More than 43% of Rail Europe's Eurostar tickets were sold in 2006 via the company's recently revamped Web sites.

Punctuality in 2006 was a record 91.5%, far outstripping airline competitors on the London-Paris and London-Brussels routes. Latest figures from the UK's Civil Aviation Authority show that punctuality at London's airports remains around 70%, as in previous years. Increased security at airports since the summer and foggy weather in the UK before Christmas meant thousands of passengers switched from airlines to Eurostar. Many of these travelers were using Eurostar for the first time, and it is estimated that 1,000 business travelers per week have now permanently transferred from flying to taking the high-speed train. Another contributing factor to ticket sales growth was the introduction in August 2006 of a new fare range for Eurostar tickets in North America. The new range offers more options for low fares and fewer restrictions on lower-priced fares. "We believe that the combination of the new fare range, fast travel times, excellent punctuality, frequent service between city-centers and the lower hassle factor compared to air travel explains the very strong North American sales we saw in the last part of 2006," said Fabrice Morel, President and CEO of Rail Europe.
Richard Brown, CEO of Eurostar, said: "Travelers are discovering that international connections are easier than they imagined. I am delighted at the strong growth in the number of business travelers, who are discovering the punctuality and productivity advantages that Eurostar offers compared with the experience of flying. Many more travelers are being attracted by the environmental benefits of using high-speed rail instead of short-haul air. We expect 2007 to be another good year."

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