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Brexit uncertainty hits Brittany Ferries’ bookings

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UK holidaymakers are delaying booking Channel crossings for next summer amid concerns about the consequences of Brexit, Brittany Ferries has said.

Forward bookings were down between 4% and 5% from some of its regular customers, the company said.

Nigel Wonnacott from Brittany Ferries said people were worried about the impact of Brexit on health insurance, pet travel and driving licences.

The decline was “raising the red flag”, he told BBC 5 live’s Wake Up to Money.

Falls in forward bookings was affecting Brittany Ferries’ cashflow, Mr Wonnacott said, and raised concerns about whether it would be able to fill its 10 ferries.

It will take delivery next year of a new vessel for the Portsmouth to Caen route, which accounts for about 30% of its traffic, that has capacity for up to 1,700 passengers.

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Media captionHow Brexit could affect travel to mainland Europe

Christophe Mathieu, the company’s chief executive, said: “Two more ships will follow as part of our €450m investment in the future. But we need to make sure we have passengers and freight to fill these new ships.”

“We know that uncertainty and instability in the UK will have consequences on both sides of the channel,” he said. “A poor [Brexit] deal, or perhaps no deal at all, could impact Brittany, Normandy and the Loire.”

Brittany Ferries was founded by Breton farmers in 1972. It operates services between the UK and Ireland to France and Spain, with Britons visiting France and northern Spain accounting for 85% of passengers.

The company reported a 2% rise in passengers to almost 1.1 million for the three months to September compared with the same period last summer.

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Media captionFive ways Brexit could affect your holiday

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