- July-September 2017 and 2018 passengers:
- Cork-Roscoff route: 44,744 – 48,700
- Passenger numbers up 9pc on Cork route
- Overall numbers on its sailings up 2pc to 1,078,507
The Cork to Roscoff route – under General Manager Hugh Bruton – was the strongest performer for Brittany Ferries during the summer, with passenger numbers up 9pc to 48,700.
The company said this reflected additional capacity following the arrival of the chartered-vessel Connemara on the Brittany Ferries fleet in May. Connemara also contributed to a 12pc rise on long-haul routes operating between Britain, Spain and Ireland.
The Cork increase came as routes from Britain to France had mixed results, with Cherbourg-Poole up 7pc, Caen-Portsmouth up 2pc, Le Havre-Portsmouth (+1pc) and St Malo-Portsmouth up 2pc. However, Roscoff-Plymouth (-1pc), Cherbourg-Portsmouth (-9pc) fell, with the latter drop being attributed to a shorter season for its high-speed Normandie Express.
The company, which has recently announced a €450m investment in three new ships, warned that Brexit could be a major problem next year.
Noting a fall in demand for family holidays next summer, it has warned of serious consequences for international tourism and the regions it serves if a Brexit deal does not bring certainty and the free movement across borders enjoyed by customers today.
Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries, said: “While the summer period saw an encouraging rise in passenger traffic, we cannot afford to be complacent – 85pc of our passengers are British holidaymakers visiting key regions in France and northern Spain,” he said and warned that “uncertainty and instability” in Britain “will have consequences on both sides of the channel”.
“We have recently announced significant investment in fleet renewal. For example, next year our new LNG-powered vessel Honfleur will arrive to serve our busiest Portsmouth-Caen route with a capacity for up to 1,700 passengers. Two more ships will follow as part of our €450m investment in the future. But we need to make sure we have passengers and freight to fill these new ships.
“Family bookings for next summer already show a worrying downward trend, so today we sound the alarm. A poor deal, or perhaps no deal at all, could impact Brittany, Normandy and the Loire, regions that have benefited directly from the links we have established and the demand we have grown for British holidaymakers travelling overseas over the last 45 years.”