High-speed rail carrier Thalys sees the light at the end of the tunnel as passenger numbers and budgets recover after taking big hits during the pandemic.
In 2021, 2.7 million passengers took Thalys trains – an 8% increase from 2020, Belga News Agency reports. Last year’s figures were promising enough for the rail line to announce that routes from Brussels Midi to Disneyland Paris and to Charles de Gaulle Airport will resume March 18.
However, the carrier’s results are still far below pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, a record 7.8 million passengers travelled on Thalys services.
The company, owned by rail carriers SNCF and SNCB, has not released 2021 financial results. In 2020, with ridership dramatically cut because of Covid-related travel restrictions, the company reported losing €137.7 million. Thalys borrowed €120 million from a consortium of five banks to keep operating.
Meanwhile, various trade journals report rumours of a Thalys merger with Eurostar continue. A proposal to combine the two high-speed rail companies was announced in 2019 and was revived in October.