Eurostar aims to cut 80 jobs as traffic suffers after attacks

Eurostar trains wait at St Pancras international station in London, Britain August 10, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Train operator Eurostar wants to cut 80 jobs this year as it struggles with weak traffic on the service that links Britain with continental Europe after a string of deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The company could not confirm British media reports saying Eurostar would cut two daily trains to Paris and one to Brussels when it unveils its 2017 timetables in December, the spokeswoman said.

“Nothing has been finalised yet,” she said. “We’re looking at all the different options.”

“But we are offering voluntary redundancies, that’s true. We are looking at cutting 80 jobs this year,” she added.

Eurostar introduced new, bigger trains last year, with more seats, which means the reduced number of services may not have an impact on the total seat capacity between London and the continent, British newspaper the Independent said last week.

In July, the train operator, majority-owned by France’s SNCF, reported a 3 percent drop in passenger numbers in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, while revenue fell 10 percent.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has also taken its toll, Eurostar has said.

“In the run up to the EU referendum we experienced a slowdown in business travel and the uncertainty following the vote to leave, combined with the Brussels terrorist attack, has continued to dampen demand,” Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic said in July.

Foreign tourists have avoided France since militant Islamist gunmen killed 130 people in an attack in Paris last November. In July, an assailant drove a truck into crowds celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on July 14 in the city of Nice, killing 86.

Foreign tourist arrivals to France could fall 4-5 percent this year, which would be the steepest decline in 40 years, according to Alliance 46.2, a group representing firms that rely on foreign visitors.

[Source:- Reuters]