The Eurotunnel, the only land connection between France and the United Kingdom, has only one train a day. And it’s still half-empty, as the cars can use a maximum of half the capacity to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The number of passengers carried by Eurostar under the English Channel has fallen by 95 percent year on year since March. However, Damas is convinced that the situation is even worse today. Less than one percent of last year’s eleven million passengers use his company’s services.
In 2019, Eurostar employed 1,650 people and had sales of around £ 880 million, almost 26 billion crowns. Now he is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy. The railroad operator hopes to receive the same financial support that the airport has begged for from the British government.
British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday that each airport in England, including regional ones, would receive an injection of eight million pounds, approximately 235 million crowns. “The new plan to help airports puts Eurostar at a disadvantage vis-à-vis its aviation competitors,” the company complains in a letter to the ministry.
“We call for this plan to be extended to international rail transport. Overall, the government should include high-speed trains in its assistance to the transport sector in order to protect the green gateway to Europe, ”the company called on the politician.
British transport union chief Mick Cash also joined the criticism. “It is very bad that Eurostar, an environmentally friendly service and a beacon for the future of our railways, does not have access to the financial support that has been offered to airports,” he said.
Interestingly, the majority owner of Eurostar is the French state railway company SNCF. However, the carrier claims that in France it has already exhausted all possibilities of government assistance. That’s why he’s turning to London. In addition to SNCF, large transport corporations from Belgium, Canada and the United States have significant stakes in the company.
Most rail carriers in the UK went into economic decline during the pandemic. Government of Wales at the end of october, it announced that it would become a destitute rail network, which until then had been operated by the French company Keolis. The Scottish railways, run by the Dutch company Abellio, were already in trouble before coronavirus. The authorities announced last year that they would terminate the contract for the Dutch three years earlier due to the poor quality of the services provided, ie by 2022.
The London Underground is also in serious trouble. The most important transport provider in the British capital, which normally carries five million passengers a day, asked for a rescue package of £ 5.8 billion in October.
The British Conservative government even got into a dispute with London Labor Mayor Sadiq Khan, demanding demand for a fare. The mayor refused. Boris Johnson’s cabinet he subsequently threatened to expropriate the metro.