"We hope that this will be weeks, not months, because the financial situation will be very difficult in late May, early June," said Jean-Pierre Farandou, CEO of SNCF.
French State Railways (SNCF), Eurostar, the high-speed train connecting France and England under the English Channel, is in need of state aid within the month to overcome the Covid-19 crisis, the French SNCF and the British Channel Tunel railway subsidiary Eurostar. the water explained to Jean-Pierre Farandou Financial Times. AllRail raises doubts about this, as SNCF will launch a brand new high-speed operator in Spain in May 2021 at a cost of € 600 million.
Most calls for financial support for the operator came from the British, but recently the French SNCF has also made it clear that assistance is needed to keep the company afloat. SNCF owns the majority (55 percent) of the shares in Eurostar. “We hope this will be weeks, not months, because the financial situation will be very difficult at the end of May, at the beginning of June,” said Jean-Pierre Farandou, CEO of SNCF.
Farandou said both the French and UK governments are continuing “very far-reaching talks” with Eurostar on possible state-backed loans that would allow the embattled train operator to overcome the coronavirus crisis.
French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said the French government was ready to assist Eurostar when he went to a hearing in the British Parliament last month. He asked the UK to follow up on the case and provide assistance at the same time.
AllRail, the association representing independent passenger rail companies, issued a statement stating that the EU and UK should block state aid to dominant companies investing elsewhere, unless conditions exist. This is related to the fact that French Railways is in the process of launching a brand new high speed operator in Spain - Ouigo España - using second hand SNCF TGVs from France. It will be released in May 2021. According to an EL Pais interview with the CEO of Ouigo Spain Hélène Valenzuela, SNCF announced in late October 2020 that it is still investing in Ouigo España, which costs 600 million euros.
“SNCF wants 585 million euros for Eurostar, it spends 600 million euros on Ouigo,” AllRail says. The association says Eurostar and Ouigo are not completely separate. “Rather, it's part of the same subdivision“ Voyages SNCF ”. This is also part of the larger 'SNCF Voyageurs' division, one of the five major divisions of the SNCF Group. "
AllRail emphasizes that they are in favor of state aid to help Eurostar, but they must have rigorous competitive remedies. For example, SNCF should provide independent operators with equal access to available second-hand TGV and Eurostar train sets - as they provide to its subsidiary Ouigo - on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory business terms.
Source: Emre Altintas / Turkey Tourism