Eurostar faces ‘real risk of survival’ as passenger numbers plummet

Passenger numbers for the cross-Channel rail service have fallen by 95% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Bjorn Keith/Shutterstock]

Eurostar faces an existential threat to its future without major government support, the firm warned on Sunday.

Passenger numbers for the cross-Channel rail service have fallen by 95% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting Eurostar to warn in a statement that “without additional funding from government, there is a real risk to the survival of Eurostar … the current situation is very serious”.

On Sunday a group of 28 business leaders, co-ordinated by business campaigning group London First, also urged Boris Johnson’s government to provide urgent financial support to prevent Eurostar from facing serious difficulties. Eurostar is majority-owned by the French state railway, SNCF, but there are indications that no further French state aid will be forthcoming.

A symbolic link between the UK and mainland Europe, Eurostar carried 11 million passengers in 2019. (Benjamin Fox | EURACTIV.com)

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