SSP Group UK revenues were still 83% of 2019 in the four months to 31 January 2023, reflecting the impact of industrial action on the rail networks.

UK revenues were up 146% against 2022, and the travel concession operator said its UK air business “maintained strong momentum”.

Group sales of £871m represented a strengthening of performance to 103% of 2019 levels and with revenues tracking above 2019 levels in North America, Continental Europe and the Rest of the World.

This performance includes the benefit from net contract gains as SSP builds its pipeline, in addition to price increases compared to 2019.

The group performance was also driven by a further recovery in passenger numbers, led by strong leisure travel demand over the extended holiday season.

This momentum continued through the autumn and into the winter, demonstrating a resilience to the broader pressures on consumer spending.

Business and commuter travel also continued to recover, albeit at a slower pace.

Despite the impact of industrial action in the UK rail network, SSP said strong trading across its other regions means its performance remains on track to achieve forecast revenues of £2.9-3.0bn, and EBITDA of £250-£280m.

Patrick Coveney, CEO of SSP Group, said: “The strong momentum in performance that we saw across the business in the second half of last year has continued into the new financial year, demonstrating the high quality of our business model. We are making excellent progress against our strategic ambitions and are on track to deliver against the planning assumptions we set at the beginning of the financial year.

“We have headroom for further growth and returns in multiple markets across the world. In particular, we see significant momentum and potential to accelerate expansion across the North America and Rest of World markets where revenues are now growing rapidly and which together are expected to account for approximately 40% of the Group by 2025. In addition to this we continue to expand in a targeted way in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

“The long-term structural growth in the air and rail travel sectors and the ongoing demand from clients and customers around the world for our brands and food concepts leave us well-placed to create significant value for shareholders for many years ahead. I would like to thank our colleagues, clients and brand partners across the world for the enormous contribution that they make to SSP each and every day.”