Brittany Ferries suspends its route, 50,000 passengers affected


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The company said it had been hit hard by UK quarantine measures imposed on all arrivals from France, with 35,000 passengers canceling or delaying their departure plans within days of the announcement. All ferry passengers must self-quarantine in the UK, even those only crossing France to take the ship.

The changes also affect the Plymouth crossings and have worried many who rely on the company’s six France-England routes.

They affect around 50,000 existing bookings and follow “extremely low” demand for the fall – though the firm said demand for next year was “promising.” It was a difficult year without any passenger passage from early April to late June, due to containment and previous quarantine requirements from the UK and France.

Brittany Ferries cut roads as UK-France quarantine hits

Why is Brittany Ferries so affected?

Brittany Ferries – a French company – is particularly vulnerable to disruption for passengers as its freight business, at just 15%, is smaller than that of its competitors, ”CEO Christophe Mathieu said in a statement. He expects the company to lose 250 million euros in revenue this year.

The company’s chief communications officer, Nigel Wonnacott, told Connexion he only plans to carry 200,000 passengers this year, up from 750,000 in a typical year. He said: “We can only survive with support. We have already obtained a loan of 117 million euros from French banks, guaranteed by the French government, to enable us to weather the difficult times ahead.

He said the company was “reviewing plans daily” but it was too early to say if or when full services would resume. “We very much hope that this year – although it is written off – will be an aberration in an otherwise beautiful and successful story.” Mr. Wonnacott added, “We didn’t employ the seasonal staff we would have for a busy summer. No one loses their job. We use the leave system in the UK and partial unemployment in France. ”

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What happens to customers who have already booked?

He said they would automatically book affected customers for alternative sailings and contact them to offer other options if the revised sail is not suitable. There will be refunds for canceled routes.
P&O Ferries declined to comment on how its UK-France passenger services could be affected. DFDS says it is running a normal program.

Briton Janice Newman, 55, who often travels around France in a motorhome with her husband, said: “I would be lost without Brittany Ferries. I have never sailed with anyone else. Hopefully they can survive. Reader, Kate, 62, an NHS retiree, often takes the Portsmouth-Saint-Malo road – about to close – to visit her French second home in Vendée. “It gives us a good trip from the east of England and then a shorter trip to our home the next day. The return trip was like a little mini-cruise and ended our vacation well. The alternative crossings would be longer, she said.

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Karen Davies, 60, travels from Portsmouth to Caen to visit her second home in the Hérault and loves dog cabins. She hoped there would be no more canceled routes. “All the alternatives would be difficult,” she said. Liz Walker, from Charente, said: “I think it’s likely that if Brittany Ferries stop the routes they won’t start over and with Brexit our lives will be poorer forever. ”

The director of maritime economics specialists Isemar, Paul Tourret, said the company has already suffered as most of its customers are British and pay in pounds (which has fallen in value), while it pays its wages in euros. A Brexit no-trade deal in 2021 could also make the freight business less profitable. “However, Brittany Ferries has a number of advantages over its competitors,” he said.

First, its vessels are mostly owned by French local authorities, which may offer more flexible conditions than private investors in the event of serious difficulties. It is tourism-based and is coming to the end of its main season, with fewer passengers from September to March. It is also well structured, he says, therefore able to overcome certain difficulties and has a loyal clientele, including many owners of second homes. Finally, the French state could also help the company, which largely employs French staff, with subsidies or tax breaks. “If tomorrow he had to help him, a solution would be found.”

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What are the changes of Brittany Ferries?

The Armorique ship will be decommissioned from August 31 and there will be no Plymouth-Roscoff crossing until another ferry sets out on September 10, with three round trips per week. It worked once or twice a day.

The Portsmouth-Saint-Malo link will end because Brittany will be disarmed from September 7 to March 2021 at least. L’Etretat is still not resuming service, although another ferry, the Connemara, provides connections from Cherbourg and Le Havre to Portsmouth.


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