Eurostar 'could collapse within months' as passenger numbers fall by 95%

The Eurostar may not survive the pandemic due to a severe drop in passenger numbers and a lack of rescue packages provided by governments, it has been reported.

The service, which connects the UK to France, Brussels and Amsterdam, has seen a 95% drop in travellers since last March when coronavirus hit the UK. On Monday the French state railway and part-owner of Eurostar, SNCF, said the London-based company was at a ‘very critical’ point.

Businesses in the UK, including Fortnum and Mason and Middlesex University, have previously sent a letter to the British Government asking them to support the London-based company. 

But one of SNCF’s senior executive’s, Christophe Fanichet, said the issue was the British government sees the Eurostar as French, while the French Government views it as British. 

Eurostar said in a statement: ‘We are encouraged by the (British) Government backed loans that have been awarded to airlines and would once again ask that this kind of support be extended to international high-speed rail which has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

‘Without additional funding from government there is a real risk to the survival of Eurostar, the green gateway to Europe, as the current situation is very serious.’

Jim McMahon, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, also called for ‘a comprehensive strategy’ to be adopted.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the significant financial challenges facing Eurostar as a result of Covid-19 and the unprecedented circumstances currently faced by the international travel industry.

‘The Government has been engaging extensively with Eurostar on a regular basis since the beginning of the outbreak. We will continue to work closely with them as we support the safe restart and recovery of international travel.’

The Eurostar was first launched in 1994 and is frequently used by Brits and Europeans to travel and visit other countries without flying.

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