Brittany Ferries was started in the year 1972 by the Breton Alexis Gourvennec along with a team of fellow Breton farmers who wanted to export their artichokes and the cauliflowers to the UK. It is today a leading maritime carrier on the central and the western channel.
Brittany Ferries was initially known as the Armement Bretagne-Angleterre-Irelande, or in short as the B.A.I. It was officially born on the bleak day of the New Year in the year 1973 with the British, French and the Breton flags flying and a choir of the singing carols. Post the entry of the Britain into the Common market in the year 1973, Gourvennec saw the chance to end the geographical isolation of the Brittany.
The founder of the Brittany Ferries understood that the fastest route to this new market can only be across the western channel to the Plymouth. He therefore contacted a number of huge and popular shipping companies to know if any of these were interested in carrying out the operations in this route. All his efforts went in vain and he and his team of farmers went ahead and bought their own freighter which was called the Kerisnel that was so named after a tiny Breton village that was popular for its cauliflowers. Even to this day, the farming groups of the Breton who founded the company remain the key shareholders of the Brittany Ferries.
In the early 1970s, the Brittany Ferries offered its very first ferry inclusive holiday and further created a thriving business by bringing the fresh produce north and the tourists towards the south. The Plymouth to the Santander route of the Brittany Ferries was started in the year 1978 and it was launched as the fastest sea route that went on till the Northern Spin. Moreover, it was 14 hours quicker than all the competitors. Further, in the following decade, Brittany Ferries grew exponentially post the acquisition of the two major shipping companies. It joined the forces with the MMD Shipping and the Jersey based Huelin Renouf to come up with a British Channel Island Ferries (BCIF). It also bought forth the cargo service, Truckline with two vessels.
The ship of the Brittany Ferries that set its sail in the 1989, was awarded with the AA 5-star award. Further after a short while in the year 1992, the purpose built Normandie and the Bretagne also gained the award. Presence of the Bretagne signified the commitment of the Brittany Ferries to provide the superior quality ferry travel. It also allowed for the expansion of the Spanish service by the Brittany Ferries. Further, by the year 1986, Brittany Ferries opened its Portsmouth Caen route which happened to be an over night success. Towards the end of the decade, the total passenger figures crossed over 1 million and that was something that just happened for the first time. Further by the end of the 1990s, there were three new ships that entered the fleet. These were the purpose built ships Normandie, Barfleur together with the Val De Loire.