Eurostar Group has reported strong year-on-year growth for the full year of 2000. During the period sales revenue across the Eurostar business increased by 12% to £439m, up from £393m in 1999 (excluding exchange rate movements). Sales volumes increased by 9%. The corresponding figures for 1999 were a 6% increase in revenue and a 4% increase in volume. The growth results from a strong performance in the business market and the promotion of leisure sales.

Services for business passengers have been improved over the last year, with increased frequencies, 10 minute check-in times for holders of fully flexible tickets, a dedicated business booking line, improved signage and a business area at Lille, and car parking at Brussels Midi. Phase II of the improvements is planned to last until 2003 and will see refurbishment of the three terminal stations. Phase III, beginning in the middle of this year and continuing to 2003, will involve the refurbishment of train interiors.

Eurostar made market share gains during 2000. The total air/rail market on the Brussels route increased by 1% in the 11 months to November 2000, with the Eurostar volume increasing by 8%, a 3% gain, giving a market share of 46%.

The air/rail market on the London - Paris route increased by 7% in the same period, and Eurostar volumes rose by 9%, giving a market share of 62·9%.

Chairman & CEO of Eurostar Group David Azéma said ’Eurostar made significant commercial progress in 2000. Eurostar revenue is continuing to increase and, despite recent operational disruption affecting Britain’s rail network, I am delighted to report strong growth in passenger numbers. We believe this parallel growth to be the basis for the long-term development of the business.’