P&O Cruises' Spirit of Britain sails from Dover, UKto France
UK ferry operators carried 38.9 million passengers on 75 routes in 2015, a 0.6% drop from 2014, but an increase of 800,000 people compared to 2013, according to Discover Ferries.
The ferry association’s 2015 Ferrystat figures show that domestic ferry routes to destinations such as the Isle of Wight, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Man, Channel Isles and Scottish Islands were the top-performing sector in 2015, with passenger numbers rising nearly 0.4% to 16 million – the highest domestic passenger figure since 2011.
Total passengers carried by P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways on the short sea routes to Calais and Dunkirk in France reached 13.01 million, a drop of 2.2% compared to the 13.29 million in 2014. Despite this, the total number of continental passengers only decreased by 1%, from 18.32 million in 2014 to 18.13 million in 2015, as some passengers chose alternative ferry routes to the continent. The western channel routes to France, which are principally served by Brittany Ferries, carried 3.4% more passengers (2.94 million), while the North Sea ferry routes run by Stena, DFDS and P&O Ferries carried 2.18 million people, the same as in 2014.
Irish Sea operators Irish Ferries, Stena Irish Sea and P&O Ferries transported 4.78 million passengers, a slight decrease of 1.9% from 2014.
“The 2015 figures show the ferry industry is resilient and adaptable,” said Bill Gibbons, Discover Ferries’ director. “Domestic ferry routes carried nearly 16 million passengers – their best year since 2011 – and despite the summer issues at Calais last year, P&O Ferries and DFDS adapted their capacity and sailings to great effect, and other continental ferry operators took up any car customers who were able to re-route. In perspective, ferry sailings to the Continent were down 8.5%, but passenger numbers in this sector only fell by 1%. Ferries also took other challenges in their stride in 2015, including the Government’s introduction of exit checks and significant investment required by new fuel emissions regulations.”
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