Brittany Ferries to cancel further services as passenger numbers fall by 70 per cent

A FERRY firm operating from Portsmouth is to cancel multiple services due to plummeting passenger numbers caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

By Richard Lemmer
Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 10:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 10:39 am

Brittany Ferries, which is the primary ferry operator at the port, will lay up its Connemara ferry, which serves the routes from Portsmouth to Le Havre and Cherbourg, from September 7.

Following the UK government imposing quarantine restrictions on arrivals from Spain and France, more than 65,000 passengers have cancelled their bookings, according company director Christophe Mathieu.

Brittany Ferries' chief executive Christophe Mathieu, pictured on the Mont St Michel Picture: Sarah Standing (290620-745)

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He said: ‘We carried virtually no passenger traffic between the months of April and June, as the Covid-19 crisis hit.’

‘When we resumed, we had hoped to salvage 350,000 passengers from a summer season that would usually achieve more than double that number.

‘The reality however is that we are unlikely to reach 200,000.

Brittany Ferries usually runs 12 ferries as part of its fleet servicing Ireland, France, and Spain.

‘Passenger traffic accounts for around 75 per cent of our income, so our bottom line has been hit hard.

‘It’s is why we must continue to take decisive action to reduce our costs to get us through the worst of this unprecedented crisis.’

The action taken by the company is part of a five-year recovery plan, which has been bolstered by an increase in reservations for 2021 – with 100,000 more bookings compared to 2019.

The Cherbourg and Poole route, provided by the ferry Barfleur, closed in March and was due to resume in June, but will remain closed for the rest of the year.

The company’s busiest route between Caen and Portsmouth remains unaffected for the next two months.

The ferry Bretagne will cease its St Malo and Portsmouth route from September 7.

During its peak season, Brittany Ferries employs more than 3,100 staff, who run 12 ships that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain.

A list of all the amendments to the ferry services can be found here.

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