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Chloe Shakesby

National Express retains 50 per cent of expected revenue in lockdown despite 80 per cent demand drop

A national transport company has reported a 22 per cent drop in revenue for the first half of 2020 following lockdown.

National Express, which operates buses and coaches across the country and abroad, saw revenue decrease from £1.34bn in 2019 to £1.03bn in the first six months of this year.

Before lockdown, the company’s revenue was up by 17 per cent.

During lockdown, it saw an 80 per cent fall in passenger demand - however, it still secured 50 per cent of its expected revenue during the three month period.

In a statement today, National Express said that it is now looking to provide “cleaner and greener” public transport.

Dean Finch, chief executive at National Express Group, commented: “During the lockdowns we proactively communicated with customers to vary service and negotiate additional support and payments.

“We have also secured exceptional governmental funding across all of our major markets and made use of furlough schemes.

“We were swift to save operating costs as we have nimbly reduced service. Alongside the actions taken to secure additional liquidity, covenant waivers and our recent placing, the group has significantly strengthened its financial position to navigate the pandemic.

“The decisive actions taken by our management team have no doubt secured the group’s continuing future.

“As we have restarted services, we have again worked closely with customers and ensured safety is paramount.

“While there are some signs of demand returning, levels are both significantly reduced and subject to variability given local lockdowns, the impact of quarantines and uncertainty over the extent of US school re-openings.

“We do not know when pre-pandemic levels of demand will return but have developed plans to respond to future scenarios and maintain safe and efficient operations thereby ensuring the continued financial well-being of the group.

“We remain fundamentally positive about the future. The diversification of the group in recent years has provided resilience during the pandemic, as risk has been spread.

“In addition, we believe our leadership positions in many diverse and attractive markets are likely to strengthen, as other operators are unable to withstand the impact of the pandemic.

“When we do emerge out of the pandemic the world will be confronted with the need to power an economic recovery with high quality, cleaner and greener public transport at its heart. The alternative is inefficient, congested towns and cities with dirty air.

“As our stand-out successes in Spanish concession renewals and recent North American School Bus bids have shown, National Express’ reputation for operational and customer excellence - alongside our strengthened balance sheet - means we are well positioned to prosper in the future.”

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