Online rail ticketing business Trainline has said annual ticket sales fell short of expectations, as rail strikes left it nursing a hit of up to £6 million a day.
The group said ongoing industrial action on UK railways cost it £5 million to £6 million in gross sales impact on average per strike day.
It said overall group net ticket sales jumped 72% to a record £4.3 billion in the year to February 28, as travel recovered from the pandemic.
But in a three-year comparison with pre-Covid levels, growth was 16%, slightly behind the group’s expectations of between 18% and 27%, “primarily given the impact of industrial action in the UK”, according to Trainline.
The latest rail strike will bring many railways across the UK grinding to a halt on Thursday in the latest wave of industrial action over pay and conditions.
Trainline said a rise in international travel demand in particular boosted overall revenues, with overseas ticket sales up 95% in a three-year comparison.
UK consumer ticket sales were 37% higher against 2019-20, with growth held back by strikes and demand for discretionary longer-distance travel being “marginally softer” in early 2023.
Group revenues rose 74% year on year, or 25% higher versus 2019-20, to £327 million.
The group expects underlying earnings in 2022-23 to be in line with market expectations.
Jody Ford, chief executive of Trainline, said: “Trainline delivered record net ticket sales, with growth led by international consumer, which became a one billion euro business for the first time.
“A key driver is the arrival of carrier competition on key European routes, particularly in Spain, where we are increasingly positioning ourselves as the aggregator of choice.”