Eurostar has reported passenger numbers have been hit in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris in January. The cross-Channel rail service said sales revenues in its first quarter were 6% down on the same period a year ago. It blamed not only disruption caused by the shootings in France, which included the attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, but also delays and cancellations forced on it by a lorry fire. Passenger numbers were flat at $3.4m. The company expressed confidence that the performance was a blip.
The uplift in business travel bookings that was reported in 2014 has continued in the first three months of the year with the number of Eurostar Business Premier travellers increasing by 7% compared with the first quarter of last year.
A Eurostar statement said: “The increase in business passengers which was underpinned last year by the recovery in the UK economy is now starting to take hold on the continent. This trend is testament to the increasing enthusiasm among business customers for choosing the ease of high speed rail over plane and the growing attraction of the Eurostar Business Premier offer." Sales revenues in the first quarter were impacted by the events in January and by movements in exchange rates. As a result, Eurostar sales revenues were down by 6% compared to 2014 at $320m.