EUROPE: Cross-Channel high speed train operator Eurostar reports that it carried 10·4 million passengers in 2015, the same total as 2014.
Sales revenue was impacted by the strength of sterling, being flat year-on-year at constant exchange rates but down 5% at actual exchange rates from £867m in 2014 to £821m 2015. Underlying operating profit was down from £55·0m in 2014 to £34·0m last year owing to adverse currency movements and costs relating to disruption.
There was a sharp drop in passenger numbers in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks in November, but ‘after a challenging end to 2015, trading is picking up and the outlook for the summer is positive’, CEO Nicolas Petrovic said on March 15. ‘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.’
Eight of the 17 Siemens Velaro e320 trainsets are now in service on the London – Paris route. These offer wi-fi, and using technology from GoMedia more than 300 hours of onboard entertainment including television and films, news, games, a children's zone and a live location map which passengers can access through their mobile devices. Testing of the wi-fi on the refurbished e300 trainsets is underway.