Corporates missing the train

Eurostar has reported a 20 per cent drop in business travellers using the cross-Channel service over the first six months of 2009.

Chief executive Richard Brown puts the drop in corporate travel down to the fact that many of the biggest client groups for Eurostar are from the financial and banking sectors. “It follows that as they tighten their travel budgets, we, like the airlines, feel the effects.”

The news for rail, which has presented itself as a greener travel alternative to the airlines is not good, but partially offset by a four per cent rise in leisure travel on Eurostar, driven by double digit growth in Europeans visiting London, partly due to the strength of the euro.

Eurostar reports 95.7 per cent punctuality.

The group, currently an informal partnership between Britain, SNCF, the French rail group, and SNCB, the Belgian rail operator, is looking to formalise a new corporate structure, as other operators – possibly including Deutsche Bahn, Air France and Ned Railways, will be allowed to compete with Eurostar using the Channel Tunnel link from 1 January 2010.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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