Brittany Ferries is to lay up three vessels following a huge rise in cancellations and “extremely weak” demand for autumn travel.
Brittany Ferries’ Armorique, which currently sails Plymouth to Roscoff, will be laid up from 31 August. Another ship, Bretagne, currently on the Plymouth to St Malo route, will be laid up from 7 September and a third vessel, Eretat, will not resume crossings as planned.
The changes mean Brittany Ferries’ Pont-Aven will replace Armorique on the Plymouth to Roscoff route from 10 September with three return trips per week.
Pont-Aven will also continue to operate one return sailing from Plymouth to Santander and from Roscoff to Cork during the week. Connemara will continue to operate the Cherbourg and Le Havre rotations from Portsmouth, but will no longer serve Spain.
Brittany Ferries said the changes followed “a weekend in which 35,000 passengers either cancelled or delayed their travel plans with the company. Forward demand for autumn sailings is also extremely weak.”
The changes will affect 50,000 forward bookings.
“We warned over the weekend that schedule changes were likely, as quarantine measures have led to a significant drop in demand for our services,” said Christophe Mathieu, director general Brittany Ferries.
“This is not something we want to do. However, in the context of a terrible summer season we have no choice but to consolidate sailings that by virtue of lack of passenger numbers are uneconomic to run. These extraordinary decisions are regrettable and we apologise in advance to all those whose travel plans will be disrupted.”
Passengers are being asked to wait for notification of any change to their booking and where possible to make alternative arrangements via the My Booking facility on the Brittany Ferries website.
Mathieu added: “It isn’t possible to know now how quarantine arrangements will change in the coming weeks. The only thing I can be sure of today is the profound impact they are having on our business. We will continue to monitor that impact and strive to react to all developments swiftly and conclusively.
“We have every intention of long-term survival and have a comprehensive five-year recovery plan in place to assure that.”