JUST six weeks after cross-Channel ferry firm SeaFrance went into liquidation former rivals LD Lines and DFDS are today launching a new service between Calais and Dover.
More than 100 former SeaFrance workers are among the crew of the ferry Norman Spirit, due to leave Calais at lunchtime.
Fares for the crossing are today running at £39 return for a car and two passengers travelling Calais-Dover on February 18 and returning Tuesday 21.
A second ferry, the Norman Voyager, is to be introduced on the route in coming weeks.
The ferry - which had previously sailed the route as the P&O ferry Pride of Aquitaine - has LD Lines on the side but DFDS Seaways is the majority partner in the consortium running the new service, with 82% of the shares.
DFDS/LD Lines had previously offered to buy ailing SeaFrance and keep the majority of staff but its offer was rejected both by SeaFrance unions and the former company's liquidators.
When SeaFrance was finally liquidated 880 staff lost their jobs. The crew on the Norman Spirit are mostly long-serving LD Lines staff from Normandy and Brittany who are training the new staff in the company's procedures.