After years of growing passenger numbers, only cheaper advance fares kept thetrain operator’s journey numbers at the previous year’s level of 2.3m.
Bookings fell after the attacks in January at the magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris. Later that month, thousands of customers were affected by delays and cancellations through a weekend after a lorry caught fire aboard a Eurotunnel shuttle.
The increase in sterling against the euro also contributed to a 6% dip in revenues to £215m, although Eurostar reported more premium business customers travelling on its trains.
The company said trading had returned to normal, with numbers for the next quarter likely to be boosted by record holiday traffic from Easter. It said there were strong advance bookings for summer, particularly with the launch of direct services to the south of France from London, stopping at Lyon, Avignon and now Marseille.
The Eurostar chief executive, Nicolas Petrovic, said: “While the UK business market has been strong for some time, we are now seeing the same trend on the other side of the channel. With forward bookings up on this time last year, we are gearing up for a busy summer period.”
The coalition recently sold Britain’s 40% stake in the high-speed flagship international service to a consortium of private investors, raising £757m, a deal that rail unions said was “selling Britain short”, with more trains and European routes expected in coming years.
This article was written by Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent, for theguardian.com on Thursday 16th April 2015 12.34 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010