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Cross-Channel ferry and holiday company Brittany Ferries is extending the suspension of some services operating between the UK, France and Spain.
The move follows continued stringent travel restrictions for passengers on both sides of the Channel. Only essential travel is currently permitted, and there is little prospect of this easing in the near future. Four ships that are currently laid-up, but which had been due to resume service in late March, will not now resume service until mid-May at the earliest.
Under the revised plans, the following ships and routes will not operate as planned from 22nd March:
Poole to Cherbourg
Portsmouth to St Malo
Portsmouth to Bilbao
Portsmouth to Santander
Plymouth to Roscoff
Plymouth to Santander
Cork to Roscoff
The following ships and routes will however continue to operate as scheduled, to accommodate those with essential travel requirements and to allow freight to flow freely:
Route to be confirmed
Rosslare to Cherbourg
Rosslare to Bilbao
Portsmouth to Le Havre*
Portsmouth to Santander
Portsmouth to Cherbourg
MONT ST MICHEL
Portsmouth to Caen
Portsmouth to Caen*
In the coming days, Brittany Ferries will contact customers who hold bookings on affected sailings, to offer alternative travel or a refund.
“Naturally we very much regret any inconvenience that these changes will cause our customers,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries’ CEO. “We had hoped for a return to service for all our routes in mid-March, but the reality is that most people are simply unable to travel at this time. Booking levels are extremely low and we are relying on loans to carry us through this difficult period. It is therefore simply not viable to run loss-making routes at this time.”
“But we continue to monitor the health and travel situation in all our markets – UK, Ireland, France and Spain. As soon as our customers can travel again, we will be there for them. We are also pushing governments to set out a pragmatic, co-ordinated and clear roadmap to safely re-open travel as soon as the health situation permits. We believe that the ramp-up of vaccines means that this re-opening could be considered sooner rather than later.”
Brittany Ferries says it will remain a predominantly freight-only service for now. However, while it thanks all freight customers and drivers for their support during the crisis, only 20 per cent of its annual turnover comes from freight traffic.
Around 80 per cent of annual income is generated by holidaymakers.
In 2020, the company secured a €117 million loan from French banks to carry it through the most difficult period in its history. It has therefore been forced to take tough decisions on costs throughout the crisis, to ensure the long-term viability of routes and services. Brittany Ferries remains committed to serving passengers, freight and supporting businesses throughout the regions it serves, and thanks everyone for their patience and messages of support.