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Displaying items by tag: 50th year of sailings

Brittany Ferries celebrated fifty years to the day (2 January, 1973) since its first voyage (and 50 years plus one since the UK joined the common market) when it launched its Roscoff-Plymouth route. To mark the voyage their flagship, Pont-Aven was re-routed to make a special sailing from France to the UK yesterday.

The company which operates on the English Channel from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth (and France-Ireland and UK-Spain) is bringing more than 120 representatives of twinning associations in Brittany to meet their counterparts in Cornwall, Devon and Wales for a reception and dinner on board flagship Pont-Aven in Plymouth. The voyage started from Roscoff in Brittany yesterday morning (at 09:00 UK time).

“Today is all about celebrating what we have done for 50 years,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO.

“We want to reinvigorate the entente cordiale among people who are closer to each other politically and culturally than they are to centres of power in Paris and London. We are proud to have served the regions of northwest France and southwest England, bringing people together for 50 years, and we look forward to continuing this beautiful adventure together.”

Entertainment on board has come courtesy of Breton band Dremmwel. Their gentle tunes have been used as wake-up music in cabins for decades.

In total Brittany Ferries estimates Dremmwel have provided the soundtrack to the start of 24 million holidays in Brittany, Normandy and northern Spain.

Published in Brittany Ferries

About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).