Brexit and Covid leaves Brittany Ferries in trouble

The president of the company estimates that it has lost more than half of its turnover this year and will continue losing money next year

22 December 2020
By Connexion journalist

The president of Brittany Ferries, Jean-Marc Roué, has said that the company is in a “precarious situation” financially speaking due to the double impact of Covid-19 and Brexit. 

“We don’t know the future situation of Covid and we also don’t know the situation of future operations post-Brexit, meaning in about ten days or so,” he told television channel France 3 yesterday (December 21). 

France suspended all travel with the UK for 48 hours, from midnight on Sunday, December 20, in a bid to prevent a new variant of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the UK from crossing to France.

An EU-level decision on reopening travel is expected to be made later today. 

When will France-UK Covid-19 travel ban be lifted?

Brittany Ferries learned of this travel ban the same day as everyone else, Mr Roué said. 

He said that passengers onboard a ship crossing from Portsmouth to Ouistreham, Normandy, on Sunday evening had to spend the night on board and were then returned to Portsmouth on Monday morning. 

Brittany Ferries has been heavily affected by the global pandemic caused by coronavirus in 2020. 

The company has had to suspend some of its routes between the UK and France and reduce services on others. 

Mr Roué estimates that the company has lost more than half of its turnover this year because of the Covid-19 crisis, which in 2019 amounted to €463 million.

He said that he knows the company will continue to lose money in 2021.

“Reservations, in this health context, are not going to improve, au contraire,” he said. 

In September, Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu reassured passengers in a letter on the firm’s website that he was confident it would be operating in 2021.

“Next year is guaranteed. And I can assure you we are working hard to ensure we continue to serve you all in 2022 – and beyond.”

Mr Roué has said that the company is also facing uncertainty due to Brexit. 

He said after four years, “still nothing has yet been decided.”

“We don’t know what systems we will have to put in place at the port,” he said.

“We know how to protect and prepare but worryingly there will be consequences in terms of operating costs, in terms of staff and in terms of economic risk. 

“Our cross-channel model is based on enormous fluidity. We have two impacts that destroy this fluidity. One is Covid...and the other is Brexit.”

Read more about Brittany Ferries: 

When will Britons be allowed to visit France again?

Brittany Ferries to restart France route with new ‘eco’ ship

Brittany Ferries safe, for the next year at least

Brittany Ferries suspends route, 50,000 passengers affected

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