National Express Group says revenue close to pre-pandemic levels

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Going forward, the Group expects 2023 margins to improve further on 2022 levels and head towards its 9% target average margin. RICHARD SHARMAN

The National Express Group issued a trading update on 7 June. It reports that revenue continues to track close to 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels, progressing strongly towards its anticipated 2022 full year revenue of around £2.7bn. Highlights from the report reveal that UK revenue is performing in line with expectations and continuing to build, with bus patronage currently at around 85% of pre-pandemic levels and coach recovery faster than expected. A number of major inter-city routes have already fully recovered and passenger figures on airport services are currently at around two thirds of pre-pandemic levels and continuing to build back strongly, the operator said, including strong volumes over the recent Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

National Express says it is rapidly adding capacity to flex back up to this improving demand and position the network for an expected strong summer. The operator said it is progressing well with decarbonisation of the fleet. Through its Bus Alliance partnership with Transport for West Midlands, the region has secured significant contributions from the various government funding rounds, including for over 300 new zero-emission buses and doubling the length of bus lanes over the next three years. It says that the initial tranche of zero-emission vehicles in its UK bus division are outperforming expectations and driving both cost efficiencies and revenue growth. By Christmas this year an additional 130 electric buses will will be on the road, helping deliver the UK’s first all-electric bus city, in Coventry, with further initiatives ongoing.