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First Spain, now France. Is this the death knell for BF?


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How can the company continue to trade when passengers are draining away, reluctant to travel not just from fear of covid-19, but from reluctance to undergo quarantine?

We've travelled twice, more recently three times,  a year to France and N Spain for as long as BF has been running.

Add to that the regular school trips with two bus-loads of teenagers off to Caen twice a year, plus formal exchange visits, there have been years when I've been on the ferries a dozen times.

I once was in charge of a visit by two dozen Devon & Cornwall Police officers to the Police Nationale in Caen and the Gendarmerie in Bayeux. An unforgettable trip! They were an interesting change from controlling teenagers...

Please, please, please, Brittany Ferries,  we need you!

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Brittany Ferries has sent BFE the following statement, in response to some of the recent media speculation: .

What a great statement and hopefully the prophets of doom will sleep easier tonight. As some of you are aware I'm in a business that relys heavily on ferry companies bringing passengers over to France

You can't magic up freight demand for north western France out of nothing, what a strange view of the world. It can be teased away from the tunnel to some degree but the fact of the travel patterns in

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The company makes money and with 3 new vessels on the way has a bright future. As with all businesses, especially in hospitality they (the majority) will ride it out and bounce back. On a side note I have been very impressed with Tallink and the way they diversified and have handled the situation with various new routes and special cruises. Although BF is an entirely different company people should look at them and what they have done it has been impressive. Stay positive. L’Q.

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9 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

The company makes money and with 3 new vessels on the way has a bright future. As with all businesses, especially in hospitality they (the majority) will ride it out and bounce back. On a side note I have been very impressed with Tallink and the way they diversified and have handled the situation with various new routes and special cruises. Although BF is an entirely different company people should look at them and what they have done it has been impressive. Stay positive. L’Q.

Three new vessels with currently not much income coming in to pay for them though... and no sign in sight of an ending. We have now had no real services since March, that's the Easter, and Summer Holidays which ae probably the big money spinners for BF.

The only positive is the French government is unlikely to let BF fall.

BF will survive... the question is will the other ferry operators.

 

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This gives BF another layer of problems and setbacks they could very well do without. They have freight that they can concentrate on and have done during the worst of the lockdown. They have and will lay up and re activate ships as and when required. The learning curve for them has been steep and although the views on here at times may have been critical it was always given from a friends point of view. They will have learned from it and become better at planning and more nimbal footed, as we can now see. They havent underestimated, either, the ongoing uncertainty and difficulties they face. They have nearly been bankrupt in the past.

  Since then, they are now the largest employers of seafarers in France, a vital transport link between the UK and France. They give employment land and sea base to many. The French Government recognise this and will support them. I agree to lose them would be catastrophic but I am certain they will come through. We all have to hope that 2021 can and will be better, for them new ships and reopened routes. For us a return to places and people we love. I believe that and have booked already for next year. They will go on for sure..

    By the way DevonJen that Police tour sounds interesting. I bet the cameraderie was good but the drinking would have been fierce😂

 

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I must stress that I know nothing about the world of the insurance industry, However I do feel that the FCO's advice on "only essential travel" which in effect invalidates travel insurance must have a major influence on putting people off travel. I know it does with us. A big irony in all this is that many of us wrinklies, who are still able to afford to travel and wouldn't be deterred by staying at home for a fortnight upon our return, aren't able to go because of a lack of insurance. One of the CEO's recent posts highlighted that many BF passengers head for out of the way places which are not centres of infection and are therefore at less risk when abroad. This being the case I wonder if with its financial clout BF could not organise a travel insurance policy which would still be valid despite the FCO advice. If it were reasonably priced it could prove attractive. I appreciate that we still have basic EHIC cover until the end of the year when that right will be removed from us, but it doesn't cover things like repatriation or a driver to bring your vehicle back if you aren't up to driving.

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I think the problem would be rating the risk. No company could write business on the basis of the destination of the insured. In my view the fact that there is still a travel insurance market at all indicates that the underwriters view the risk as acceptable within the current advice framework, I fully admit I expected it to be impossible to get cover at all except under existing policies a few months ago. No doubt BF could approach a panel of underwriters with that proposal but I don't think they'd get very far. As far as recovering any vehicle from overseas is concerned it is very wise to look carefully at the small print if all policies you hold. It was revealed on this forum a few years ago that no recovery policy at that time would bring a vehicle back if the cost of recovery exceeded the value of the vehicle in Glass' Guide.

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BF is a French company and the French government unlike the UK government has a pride in it's industries and imo would not allow BF to go out of business or be taken over and asset stripped.  It has ring fenced iconic French brands ensuring that they cannot fall into the hands of foreign owners.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Mpojacarman said:

BF is a French company and the French government unlike the UK government has a pride in it's industries and imo would not allow BF to go out of business or be taken over and asset stripped.  It has ring fenced iconic French brands ensuring that they cannot fall into the hands of foreign owners.

 

 

Having flown with Air France, and been stranded due Air France staff striking, I’m not sure French Government support is particularly good.

Businesses that rely on state support to exist generally aren’t that good, although I fully accept that short term support due to extreme circumstances, like BF are in, is a good thing.

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I have flown with Air France to Tokyo a few times not as good as the now defunct Sabena.

Excellent service on one return the plane was a little late into CDG. Escorted off the plane first, shown to a little van rapidly driven around the airfield to another plane for my connection to Birmingham 

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13 hours ago, Mpojacarman said:

BF is a French company and the French government unlike the UK government has a pride in it's industries and imo would not allow BF to go out of business or be taken over and asset stripped.  It has ring fenced iconic French brands ensuring that they cannot fall into the hands of foreign owners.

 

 

I suspect you're right - but It would be a much smaller business if it was reduced to the  traffics for which it was essential and still wanted to, at least, break even. Drive past the CFT any time from say mid September to Easter and you  wonder at  just how trivial the passenger traffic is most days. It has never made enough money and its main asset has been the goodwill of mainly UK customers. It remains to be seen just how much of that is left.

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During Winter its the freight that keeps companies like BF going. If a company keeps its reserves instead of dishing them all out to the shareholders who quite often are a very few large holding share holders  then they can survive. Too many companies seem to be run on debt so go to the wall very quickly when there is a stoppage in trade. A lot of these restaurant chains for instance seem to have collapsed in months as they have nothing in the pot for a rainy day. Many chains are owned by one company hence why so many restaurants seem to currently in administration.

Now for the discussion points. Some will agree, a lot wont but its a personal choice how you see things.

My wife and I are not considering an overseas break whilst the world has a unpredictable pandemic oon.We had a Florence trip booked in 2018 cancelled in May so decided it wasn't worth the hassle to chance another the way things were going.   We thought if you go abroad, then you should accept the possibility that your country may put a q14 on that country when you get back as its ever changing.

Otherwise surely, dont go as you will spend half the time watching the news ready to pack and so wont relax anyway. If you can't afford to q14 then write the holiday off as it will save you having to q14 after your annual leave and so youre no worse off apart from the physical overseas trip. We had an Italian week at home in May instead.

Giving notice in my opinion is an error as it causes a stampede to get back (by 0400 yesterday) and if you are first car off ferry at 0350 and the last car is your mates you have spent holiday with in same Villa and they get off at 0405, you are free to go out and about next day, they have to q14. Ridiculous. Quarantine should be immediate announcement as everyone goes knowing it could happen and there would be no difference between you and your mates chances of infection as you have shared the same accommodation. Surely if we want to beat this then both parties in scenario above should be q14. Covid doesn't recognise 0400.

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Adicat, I get by making the Q14 immediate avoids the stampede, but it still does not stop two groups staying at the same place getting off ship at the time of the cull?  
 

The moment it is announced, it is a time. It can be unfortunate either way. Always winners and losers!  
 

Think it is bonkers the whole thing myself, the affect this is having on our well being and economy and life is far exceeding the risk the virus poses, statistically.

Harsh as it is, statistics are used in safety protocols all the time.  Just wish they would bias their stats a bit more on the aftermath, not just the virus itself.  Maybe I am naive.

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6 minutes ago, 5_ShortBlasts said:

Adicat, I get by making the Q14 immediate avoids the stampede, but it still does not stop two groups staying at the same place getting off ship at the time of the cull?  

I am pretty sure that the time is based on the plane/ship landing/ docking.

Linked article discusses timings , Stena tried to argue it was British waters and got told that it was docking time. https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2020-08-15/ferry-passengers-arriving-back-in-harwich-beat-quarantine-deadline-with-30-minutes-to-spare

Edited by David Williams
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6 hours ago, IanN said:

I have flown with Air France to Tokyo a few times not as good as the now defunct Sabena.

Excellent service on one return the plane was a little late into CDG. Escorted off the plane first, shown to a little van rapidly driven around the airfield to another plane for my connection to Birmingham 

Have to say in the days when I was flying around the planet, the airline I tried to avoid was Sabena and the airport was Brussels. [That was long before Eurostar gave a sensible alternative route London-Brussels. That was of course the late and much lamented Dover-Oostende ferry.

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I'm rather inclined to agree with Adicat. At the moment I don't want to go abroad until I do not have to wear a mask either on the transport or at the destination. I fear I may be in for a long wait!

Stepping back a bit, the overwhelming reason that we have a global pandemic is that people have spread it by travelling on planes! And the reason that restrictions are not being lifted, and sometimes being reimposed is that a small but significant minority (which varies from country to country) are not co operating with the measures designed to suppress the virus. The longer this goes on the longer it will be before we can travel in some semblance of normality again.

It has been the lockdowns that have brought down the infection and death rates and easing of the lockdowns has encouraged people to stop taking Covid seriously and allowed the spikes to develop. At the moment, most areas of the UK have the virus pretty well supressed and local restrictions are being used to put a lid on local surges. It will still take very little for the pan to boil over again as we are seeing in mainland Europe.

Edited by cvabishop
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Cvabishop, agreed and the sooner we get this thing out there and done the rounds before the winter kicks in the better! We are just kicking the can down the road imho.  In the meantime, whilst the can gets kicked, we kick many other facets on the way!

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2 hours ago, David Williams said:

I am pretty sure that the time is based on the plane/ship landing/ docking.

Linked article discusses timings , Stena tried to argue it was British waters and got told that it was docking time. https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2020-08-15/ferry-passengers-arriving-back-in-harwich-beat-quarantine-deadline-with-30-minutes-to-spare

Make it immediate then people don't change their actions ie rush back but any ship or plane already enroute before announced can offload as they had left the zone before it was officially a quarantine zone.

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There are rumours that BF are potentially looking at voluntary redundancies. If the view at the top is that this is with us for many months to come, such action would be logical, although I suspect a fair amount of discussion with government about maintaining employment, and a frosty view from unions will influence the outcome.

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1 hour ago, adicat said:

Make it immediate then people don't change their actions ie rush back but any ship or plane already enroute before announced can offload as they had left the zone before it was officially a quarantine zone.

We left Normandy yesterday morning at around 10am and headed 2 hours south to Laval for a 24-hour stopover (the infection rate in Mayenne has dropped and masks are compulsory in the city centre although yesterday was a public holiday so very few people were out and about) and saw several UK cars. Today during the drive south again to get home I saw a couple more, one with several bikes on the back, suggesting that many people are resigned to the situation, continuing with their holidays and will follow the new rules on their return. Ed. 

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4 hours ago, kenw said:

Have to say in the days when I was flying around the planet, the airline I tried to avoid was Sabena and the airport was Brussels. [That was long before Eurostar gave a sensible alternative route London-Brussels. That was of course the late and much lamented Dover-Oostende ferry.

Little things with Sabena.. Nothing on the menu I fancied on one flight back (meat and two  veg man). was offered lamb chops with potatoes and mixed veg cooked in what I presume was the first class galley.  Not at all keen on Japanese food tried to spot the KFC at any place I ended up. Rambling again. 

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47 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

We left Normandy yesterday morning at around 10am and headed 2 hours south to Laval for a 24-hour stopover (the infection rate in Mayenne has dropped and masks are compulsory in the city centre although yesterday was a public holiday so very few people were out and about) and saw several UK cars. Today during the drive south again to get home I saw a couple more, one with several bikes on the back, suggesting that many people are resigned to the situation, continuing with their holidays and will follow the new rules on their return. Ed. 

A family I know went to Spain knowing that quarantine on their return was looking likely but their attitude was that they had booked the holiday 18 months ago so they were going and taking their chances.

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3 hours ago, colin said:

There are rumours that BF are potentially looking at voluntary redundancies. If the view at the top is that this is with us for many months to come, such action would be logical, although I suspect a fair amount of discussion with government about maintaining employment, and a frosty view from unions will influence the outcome.

When does the French equivalent of furlough end ?

I imagine that redundancies may be linked to that, I trust that we will not lose any of the UK customer service staff .

Edited by David Williams
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13 minutes ago, David Williams said:

When does the French equivalent of furlough end ?

I imagine that redundancies may be linked to that, I trust that we will not lose any of the UK customer service staff .

It is being extended with a long term version, costing employed and employed a little more.

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6 minutes ago, colin said:

It is being extended with a long term version, costing employed and employed a little more.

Makes sense, that will reduce the need for immediate wholesale redundancies, however might make UK staff more vulnerable

Edited by David Williams
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5 minutes ago, colin said:

It is being extended with a long term version, costing employed and employed a little more.

And I think there was a suggestion that certain categories of workers in the tourism, entertainment and service sectors would be able to benefit from the plan until the end of 2021 but that might have changed since.  Ed. 

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