SNCF says the pandemic has so far cost it €5 billion in lost revenue and other expenses.

The French government has now stepped in, and according to La Tribune is to provide €4.5 billion in aid.

Faced with such losses one might question the wisdom of SNCF’s foray into the Spanish market.

However according to industry magazine IRJ SNCF will proceed with its high-speed operations next year.

However the launch date has again be postponed (it was originally supposed to be this month) to May 10 next year owing to the pandemic.

As we have previously reported Spain is a European leader by granting two international operators (along with their trains) access to its domestic market.

SNCF will be the first with Ouigo Spain, the livery for which has now been unveiled – check the above IRJ tweet to see it.

Ouigo is a no-frills product. But for Spain SNCF will be providing a bar car on its 610-seater Duplex TGVs.

Its initial route will be Madrid-Barcelona. Lead in fares are set at €9 one-way.

Initially the plan is to operate ten trains daily each way on a route which already carries a large volume of air traffic.

SNCF will be followed in a year or so by Italy’s Trenitalia.

Both foreign operators are to operate on high-speed lines with the idea of competing with air travel.

For its part Spanish rail operator Renfe has responded with its low-cost Avlo – the launch date for which has also been postponed by the pandemic.

Renfe postpones Avlo launch date,