Eurostar to run reduced schedule to 2025 despite French bailout Business

The HS1 line is owned by a consortium comprising HICL Infrastructure, Equitix and the National Pension Service of South Korea. Eurostar and the domestic operator Southeastern Railways pay HS1 a charge for the operation of services on the line based on the number of services they operate.

Accounts filed Wednesday by HICL, listed on the London Stock Exchange, reveal that HS1 investors benefit from “contractual support from the Department for Transport” which guarantees payments from the domestic operator.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said the government would not step in to save Eurostar as it was majority owned by French state-backed rail operator SNCF. David Cameron sold the UK’s stake in the operator for £ 750million in 2015.

Young Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris had signaled to Eurostar shareholders that support would be possible from UK Export Finance.

The telegraph revealed in January that UK taxpayers had been exposed to the Eurostar collapse thanks to an agreement allowing costs owed by Eurostar to be shifted to the south-east, the costs of which are being borne by UK taxpayers.

A shortfall of up to £ 10million can be passed on to operator Southeastern every six months until 2025, meaning the government is expected to fund payments of up to £ 80million.

Eurostar’s cautious return comes amid lingering concerns that a spike in coronavirus cases coupled with tighter travel restrictions could cast new doubt on the operator’s future.

“Things are not over yet,” a high profile source said over the weekend. “We are far from being out of the woods.”

Airlines are more optimistic about the return of international travel, however.

British Airways boss Sean Doyle said: “We think it has to be 2023/24, [is]the kind of time frame in which we see things getting back to normal. “

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This notice was published: 2021-05-26 15:47:15