Brittany Ferries pleads for French government help after ‘sledgehammer blow’ of UK quarantine

Brittany Ferries pleads for French government help after 'sledgehammer blow' of UK quarantine
Photo: AFP
The boss of Brittany Ferries has pleaded for government help, saying that the UK's latest quarantine restrictions have brought the company to its knees.

The boss of the French-owned Brittany Ferries says the UK's decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France has dealt a 'sledgehammer blow' to the company.

Managing Director Christophe Mathieu said: “We had already had no passenger activity in April, May, June.

“Over the weekend we had capacity for 5,400 passengers and we ended up carrying 2,300. To give you an idea, last year, for the same weekend, we carried 13,400.

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“In other words, we were looking at a season around 40 percent down, with the quarantine announcement, the season will end with at least a halving of bookings.

“That is if France, in the coming days, doesn't announce some form of reciprocity either.

“If, in addition, France announces that the British, when they arrive in France, have to quarantine for a fortnight, then we fear that the whole portfolio of reservations will disappear.”

The French government said after the UK announcement that it would impose reciprocal measures, but so far has not announced what they will be. During the last period of quarantine in the UK, the French also imposed a quarantine but it was voluntary with no enforcement and no fines.

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Mathieu told France Info: “We were already down on one knee after the first period of lockdown, which was already extremely difficult. 

“Now, with the quarantine announcement we have no idea on the duration, since today who can say how long this measure will be in place. We fear that, beyond September-October, bookings will be very, very low this winter, at least until spring 2021 unless a vaccine or cure have been found.

“That brings us to our second knee. We are saying that the company is badly affected, that it will not be able to manage on its own.”
He appealed to the French government for tax breaks to help tide the company over.
Brittany Ferries is primarily a passenger transport company, with only around 15 percent of its activities involving freight cargo, unlike P&O and DFDS which have a higher proportion of freight traffic.
During the lockdown Brittany Ferries closed all its passengers services, while P&O ran a skeleton service for passengers.

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