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


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21 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

The whole issue with when the plane/vessel arrives is ridiculous.  If a quarantine is imposed, it should be based on the departure time of the vessel from the country that has had a quarantine imposed on it.  In the case here, it would be theoretically possible to leave on the overnight Caen-Portsmouth ferry and arrive after the quarantine has been imposed, yet those that chose to go by tunnel could leave at say 4am French time and beat the quarantine.  Madness.

In addition, I read this morning that those travelling by tunnel from France that have driven non-stop from the German border do not have to quarantine yet those who do the same by ferry do.  Why?  -Because they have to get out of their cars when the ferry is tied up in France.  Let alone the fact that they have already cleared UK immigration at that point.

Whilst I understand the need to protect our population from the dangers of this virus if everyone would just wear a mask when required and observe social distancing the numbers would be manageable.

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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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I would have felt it most unlikely that the company will be allowed to fail one way or another. France needs to get this upsurge in infections under control as quickly as possible. Apparently masks will now need to be worn in offices.

Perhaps as the holiday season comes to an end or is effectively terminated prematurely it will have a positive effect.

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I don`t think BF is about to go under at all. I think it will be supported (think Air France) and will be here next year. I think it will be a smaller and leaner operation with maybe less ships and ports and with the older, bought and paid for vessels remaining as the backbone of the service. Who knows, but we wish them well for sure.

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7 minutes ago, Paully said:

I don`t think BF is about to go under at all. I think it will be supported (think Air France) and will be here next year. I think it will be a smaller and leaner operation with maybe less ships and ports and with the older, bought and paid for vessels remaining as the backbone of the service. Who knows, but we wish them well for sure.

Agree completely. France wont let BF go under. It will, though, change, at the very least for the short term future. I fully see St Malo as being summer only, if at all. Any route that isn't profitable, especially ones which are more pax orientated will likely go

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I am sure that it won't go bust, however it now has rather a large loan to pay back plus 3 new 5 year leases on ships running between the UK and Spain.  Cash Flow will not be easy and an amount of next years bookings were paid for by vouchers !

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I think it is a case of holding nerve.

If the shadow of Covid is removed and it is possible to travel freely to France again without the threat of quarantine etc. then the pent up demand will be enormous. We must live in hope.

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6 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

I think it is a case of holding nerve.

If the shadow of Covid is removed and it is possible to travel freely to France again without the threat of quarantine etc. then the pent up demand will be enormous. We must live in hope.

Well yes - but it took some rural holiday destinations in this country years to recover from Foot and Mouth in 2001. The problem for any discretionary market is the breaking of the habit of a lifetime especially if people realise what they have been spending. And unless the Leader of the Conservative Party and his pals cut some sort of sensible deal going to France or indeed any EU country will not be like it has been since 1992. And I simply don't trust that motley crew to get anything right..

Mind you the BF which emerges going forward might stop spending money on stupid rebranding and websites that don't work and get back to basics. 

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There was a travel survey* done recently where car ferries came out on top as one of the most trusted means of public transport.

So, there is some hope that those displaced air travelers will start to use continental ferry services like BF. And of course, there has been record sales of camper vans this summer, another glimmer of hope for the sector. 

 

*( do not have source as it was mentioned on tail-end of radio show)

 

 

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Not altogether sure I would agree with that really Millsy. I think there are a lot of relatively affluent pensioners who if conditions suddenly returned to normal would be off to France like a shot. I would be among them except that an eye condition makes driving a bit problematical.

These people have been effectively confined to barracks since March and have had no opportunity to spend the income piling up in their accounts as they would usually do on foreign travel. OK it's a first world problem but still a lot in it for all that.

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2 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

I think there are a lot of relatively affluent pensioners who if conditions suddenly returned to normal would be off to France like a shot.

Yes, BF seem to have tapped into this "affluent pensioner" market very well. Seeing that they are taking a car / campervan to a foreign land with funny road signs, tt is possible they are already a little more braver in their travel decisions.  

 

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9 hours ago, cvabishop said:

I think there are a lot of relatively affluent pensioners who if conditions suddenly returned to normal would be off to France like a shot. 

 

I think the 'if' is the issue. We have seen my father for half an hour since March, the home he is in has been extremely careful, and we thought things might be returning to normal slowly when were allowed a 'garden visit'. Then bang they have one case and it's keep away for another 28 days. That'll be September 15th six months effectively a prisoner for him - for his own good The Leader of the Conservative Party and his pals might say. (But as a very wise 86 year old said to me once 'Don't talk about being 86 until you've been 86!' Many of his frail fellow customers could easily be seen off by a bad cold.) Following this and, even though no longer working in the sector, following the travails of the events industry and live entertainment I don't sense any return to 'normal' on the horizon at all and I don't think the CEO of BF does either. 

Edited by Millsy
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For information, CONNEMARA will continue its Cherbourg / Portsmouth / Le Havre services in September-October, according to the same schedules as today. ETRETAT will not be returned to service. BRETAGNE and ARMORIQUE will be removed from service until further notice.

I keep wondering why ensure 3 departures a day from Ouistreham under these conditions?

Edited by LHCity
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As far as St Malo is concerned, remember that along with Roscoff it is in Brittany.... Shareholders will always want services operating to and from Brittany and Roscoff alone is very limited.

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10 minutes ago, LHCity said:

 

I keep wondering why ensure 3 departures a day from Ouistreham under these conditions?

I imagine it is simply down to staff costs and other overheads. It is going to be cheaper to staff one port full time rather than several ports part time. BF obviously reckon that there is the demand for the number of sailings that they are continuing and the most economical way to run them is to maintain the full schedule in Ouistreham.

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37 minutes ago, LHCity said:

I keep wondering why ensure 3 departures a day from Ouistreham under these conditions?

Because that is where customers want to go, however I imagine that sailings will be reduced in November / December during refit season unless they put CF on that route.

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35 minutes ago, elaine80 said:

I imagine it is simply down to staff costs and other overheads. It is going to be cheaper to staff one port full time rather than several ports part time. BF obviously reckon that there is the demand for the number of sailings that they are continuing and the most economical way to run them is to maintain the full schedule in Ouistreham.

Because in "normal" circumstances about 50% of BF's traffic goes on 2 ships one 1 route: Portsmouth-Ouistreham.

Shows how little the remaining 10 ships do.

I reckon they'll run Caen as one ship during the refit period and keep Connemara going to Cherbourhe/Le Havre like they did in the lockdown, keep CF going to Spain - I think we can expect something not too dissimilar to the lockdown operation.

Question is what will happen with PA, are they suddenly going to start running Plymouth-Roscoff through the winter and Roscoff-Cork too?

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5 minutes ago, Seashore said:

keep CF going to Spain - I think we can expect something not too dissimilar to the lockdown operation.

Maybe,  however CF has a refit coming up as well, however there will be a shiny new ship available come November.

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1 hour ago, David Williams said:

Because that is where customers want to go, however I imagine that sailings will be reduced in November / December during refit season unless they put CF on that route.

It's like the story of the egg and the hen. Is it supply that drives demand, or demand that drives supply ? All of this is very artificial. BF could remove CONNEMARA and replace it with NORMANDIE on Cherbourg / Portsmouth / Le Havre, leaving only one ship at Ouistreham.

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1 minute ago, LHCity said:

It's like the story of the egg and the hen. Is it supply that drives demand, or demand that drives supply ? All of this is very artificial. BF could remove CONNEMARA and replace it with NORMANDIE on Cherbourg / Portsmouth / Le Havre, leaving only one ship at Ouistreham.

This is deja vu all over again.

This is survival not long term strategy.

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

Quote

“Hello everyone, I’ve been reading a few comments on here in the last couple of days. Most notably, you have picked up on the Connexion headline suggesting we may not survive the crisis and some nonsense in the Plymouth Herald about Armorique never returning. Just to be clear, both these suggestions are false. Sure, it is gonna be a rough ride- and the years ahead will be tricky. But we are not going anywhere. We are determined to be here next year and in the years to come serving you and all our loyal passengers. Don’t forget we have a 117 million euro loan from French banks and we continue to make use of furlough schemes in the UK and its equivalent in France. Our shareholders are committed to Brittany Ferries and we have a robust 5 year recovery plan. Finally, as I’m sure everyone reading this will be aware, ships sometimes change course to avoid bad weather. It’s another great piece of reporting I spotted on Plymouth Live yesterday - if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a glance to raise a smile in these difficult times. Click bait, as one of your members rightly suggested. Keep supporting us: as I’ve said many times you are our harshest critics when we do something wrong (rightly), but our greatest advocates and supporters. Thank you for being on our side and passionate about all things Brittany Ferries.”
- Nigel Wonnacott

.

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14 minutes ago, Andy said:

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

.

I wonder if Nigel picked up on the repeated comments on here that Bretagne may not return too, that is also rubbish.

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