Record year for Eurostar as business travellers switch from airlines

Eurostar saw record sales and traveller numbers in 2005 as an innovative new product strategy attracted thousands more business customers. The increase in Business Premier traffic, with 14% more business tickets sold than in 2004, shows that Eurostar appears to have become the carrier of choice for business travellers, resulting in some airlines removing their business-class products on short-haul European routes. Expected sales in 2005 were £463.8 million, up 7% on the year before (£433 million); a total of 7.45m travellers chose Eurostar in 2005, up 2.4% on 2004, and during the year the operator recorded its highest ever market share, taking 71% of the London-Paris and 64% of the London-Brussels air/rail routes. Punctuality in 2005, at 86.3%, was much better than the punctuality rates of airline competitors operating on the London / Paris / Brussels routes. Recent data from the Civil Aviation Authority shows that punctuality at Heathrow Airport has remained below 70%. To meet growing demand, a tenth daily weekday service is being introduced between London and Brussels from 13 February, further easing onward connections to Amsterdam and Cologne. And to help travellers wishing to book further ahead, Eurostar tickets can now be bought up to four months before travel. Eurostar chief executive Richard Brown commented: “Our focus on business travellers is paying off. We're delivering the full premier service they need in order to be prepared for the business day ahead. As some airlines cut out their business-class cabins, they're also cutting out their customers.” Brown added: “As demand for Eurostar grows, we'll continue to add more services, such as the extra weekday train to and from Brussels. Our mission is clear - to bring long-haul standards to short-haul travel.” Eurostar continues to make plans for its move to St. Pancras International in 2007, when its entire service will switch from Waterloo. The government has announced that Eurostar's existing platforms will be converted for use by domestic train services into and out of Waterloo.

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