In the face of a terrible summer season and weak forward demand for services this autumn, Brittany Ferries said that it had been forced to take further decisive action.
The French-based ferry company has confirmed further schedule changes. The aim is to reduce costs, as part of the company’s five-year recovery plan, it said.
This move followed the UK Government’s decision to impose quarantine restrictions on those arriving from Spain, and more recently France.
This led to an immediate run on cancellations. Around 65,000 passengers have cancelled their reservations since quarantine measures were announced. Furthermore, the company reports significantly weakened demand for services this autumn.
“We carried virtually no passenger traffic between the months of April and June, as the Covid-19 crisis hit,” said Brittany Ferries Director General, Christophe Mathieu. “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. Passenger traffic accounts for around 75% 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 company claimed that its foundations are strong even in the face of the worst crisis in its history. A robust five-year recovery plan is in place and reservations for the 2021 season are claimed to be strong. Around 100,000 more passengers have reserved a holiday next year, compared with those booking during the same period in 2019.
However, in the short term more passengers will be affected by schedule changes. The most significant for September involves Brittany Ferries ‘Connemara’, which has been taken out of service from the Cherbourg/Portsmouth and Le Havre/Portsmouth routes, which has resulted in their closure.
This follows the closure of the St.Malo/Portsmouth route. The Cherbourg/Poole operation will also remain closed for the remainder of the year, having ceased operations at the end of March.
Brittany Ferries’ busiest route between Caen and Portsmouth remains unaffected for the next two months. ’Normandie’ and ’Mont St Michel’ will continue to operate three daily departures, with ’Armorique’ covering each ship’s technical stop in November and December, respectively, running as a freight-only vessel.