Record figures mark ten years of Eurostar

Eurostar has claimed its highest ever share of the London to Brussels route and has relaunched its business travel strategy. The high-speed train service announced a year- on-year jump of 26% on the route to claim a 59% share of the market in July 2004, based on Civil Aviation Authority data. Eurostar’s London to Paris route also saw a passenger volume boost of 22% to 66% market share. Director of communications Paul Charles said the figures showed that Eurostar was beating airlines in a traditional market. "Our growth in market share shows we have a compelling product that passengers are choosing above air travel. We will continue to make substantial improvements to our service while the airport and airline experience deteriorates." The firm is marking ten years of operation this autumn with a £1.4m campaign targeting the business market. Eurostar’s 27-train fleet is being given an interior redesign. First-class carriages will have more comfortable seats plus sockets for laptops and mobile phones. The developments come on the back of the overhaul of business lounges last year. Eurostar is also trialling wi-fi onboard this year with a view to a fleet roll-out in 2005. Eurostar puts its improved performance down to the opening of the dedicated UK high-speed line last year which cut 40 minutes from round trips. Competing airlines have also been scaling down services. British Airways is scrapping its Gatwick to Paris service from the end of October. Easyjet has cut the frequency of its Luton to Paris service, following a similar move by Ryanair. A new advertising campaign, featuring a character called Mr Jetset, challenges the preconception that flying is better than taking the train.

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