Olympic teams plus millions of holidaymakers flocking to London by Eurostar for last summer’s Games saw the Channel Tunnel train service’s operating profit more than double to £52.3 million in 2012.
The French, Belgian and Dutch Olympic teams travelled to Stratford via Eurostar, as did the French and Belgian Paralympic teams and European and international spectators.
Passenger numbers were up 2% to 9.9 million last year, with the number of travellers from outside the EU up 8% year-on-year, Eurostar said.
The trains group added it had also enjoyed a strong “post-Olympic boost” with traffic up 5% in the last three months of 2012.
Ticket sales across the year hit £799 million, up 5% when stripping out the effects of currency movements. Eurostar said its doubling in profit was “driven by an increase in the volume of passengers combined with strong cost management across the business”.
The company added: “Whilst business travel remained flat, the uplift in passengers was underpinned by continuing resilience in the leisure travel market as the number of leisure passengers grew by 3% compared to the previous year.”
Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “The combination of the Olympic Games and the Jubilee gave London a major boost, showcasing the city as a prime travel destination.”
Eurostar, which has carried 130 million passengers since launching in 1994, is investing £700 million in a new fleet of trains, as well as launching new services including a “ski train” between London and Swiss ski resorts and a new direct summer service to Lyon and Provence.