Travel hub operator SSP Group has said it remains optimistic in its ability to adapt to and capitalise on the return of the travel market next year despite incurring huge losses in 2020.

In its UK market, revenue decreased by 51.1% on a constant currency basis, comprising a like-for-like reduction of 51.2% and net contract gains of 0.1%.

Though there was a slight recovery in the sector through the summer, additional restrictions and a second national lockdown prompted a further dip in passenger numbers, and UK H2 sales fell by 91.8%, comprising a like-for-like sales decrease of 91.6% and net contract losses of 0.2%.

The underlying operating loss for the year for the UK was £28.7m and reported operating loss was £39.0m.

Like-for-like global sales were down 50.8% across the group, at an operating loss of £363.9m. Loss before tax was £425.8m (2019: £203.2m profit), and the group had a net debt of £692.0m on a pro forma IAS 17 basis, up from £483.4m at 30 September 2019.

Despite this, the business said its liquidity remains strong, with cash and undrawn available facilities of around £520m at the end of September.

Though sales were “very low” (down 93% year-on-year) in Q3, they had increased gradually by the end of September (76% down year-on-year), and the group is optimistic that the vaccine roll out will prompt further recovery.

Over the summer, SSP opened a third of its units globally, secured contract extensions at a number of sites and won a number of new contracts.

“Whilst we expect passenger numbers to remain subdued over the winter, we are optimistic that, alongside good progress with the vaccination programme, we will see a significant upturn in both domestic and international travel from the spring,” said SSP CEO Simon Smith.

“We are ready to respond quickly. The actions we are taking to rebuild the business will put us in a strong position to capitalise on the recovery as well as future new business opportunities, enabling us to deliver long term sustainable growth for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”