Eurostar believes the Brussels terror attacks in March are behind a fall in passenger numbers at the start of 2016.
The operator said passengers “remain cautious” following the attacks in Brussels and Paris. Eurostar revealed there had been a “slowdown” in travellers from the US and Asia, resulting in passenger numbers 3 per cent below where they were this time last year.
As a result, sales revenues for the first three months of the year fell by 6 per cent from £215 million in 2015 to £201 million.
Despite the difficult start, the company said an upsurge in ticket sales ahead of Euro 2016 presented a positive outlook for the year ahead.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, said: “We have seen an unprecedented demand from football supporters keen to get the Euros by train. With our city-centre to city-centre services and a brand new state-of-the art fleet of trains, we are ideally placed to carry fans from the UK direct to the heart of the action in France.”
Last month, testing of Eurostar’s new e320 trains commenced in the Netherlands. Direct services between London St Pancras and Amsterdam Centraal are due to start at the end of 2017.
Petrovic added: “The start of testing for the e320 on the Dutch network marks a major milestone in the run-up to the launch our new service.
“With over 3 million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this new route is key to our growth plans. Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service is set to transform travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”