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Attack fears hit Eurostar, but Euro 2016 will boost traffic

Eurostar 374020 at St Pancras International on June 3. RICHARD CLINNICK.

Terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22 have dampened demand for travel on Eurostar, with international bookings down.

The cross-Channel operator confirmed on May 20 that passenger figures were down. It described the first quarter of 2016 as “challenging”, stating that travellers remain cautious following the terror attacks in Brussels.

It said the impact has been very evident in international markets, with a slowdown in bookings from America and Asia. This has resulted in passenger numbers in the first three months of the year being 3% down on the same period last year.

In Q1 of 2015, there were 2.3 million passengers carried. In the corresponding three-month period this year, Eurostar carried 2.2 million passengers. And sales revenue was 6% lower than last year - in 2015 Q1 Eurostar recorded £215 million in sales, while this year it was £201m.

However, the company has reported strong forward bookings between the UK and mainland Europe for the summer, particularly due to the Euro 2016 football tournament being held in France. It says nearly 500,000 passengers are travelling on Eurostar, which serves host cities Lille, Lyon, Paris and Marseille. The busiest day is June 10 (the first day of the tournament, with England playing Russia in Marseille the following day).

  • For more on this, including the progress of e320 testing in Holland, read RAIL 802, published tomorrow (June 8).

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