Eurostar has enjoyed a vintage year in 2017 as it looks forward to the launch of new services to the Netherlands next month.
The company has announced an 11% jump in revenues and says preliminary operating profits now stand at £57.6m.
Passenger numbers on Eurostar have stayed relatively flat in recent years but the company says that the figures hide an 8% jump in business travellers between 2016 and 2017.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive, Eurostar, said: "Last year we saw a real revival in the US market combined with good growth in business travel. Following a positive performance in 2017 we are now well placed to expand our reach to The Netherlands. With over four million passengers travelling by air every year between London and Amsterdam, the growth potential for the service and the overall market is significant."
The company launches its new twice-daily direct service between the British and Dutch capitals on Wednesday 4 April after successful trials, including comprehensive testing on the Dutch high-speed network, and building Eurostar terminals in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Travellers will be able to make the journey in 3 hours 41 minutes and to Rotterdam in three hours.
At launch, passengers travelling from the Netherlands to the UK will need to connect through Brussels for passport checking and security screening. The company says this is a "temporary measure whilst the governments in the UK and The Netherlands complete an agreement which will enable passport checks to be conducted on departure in The Netherlands". This agreement is expected to be in place by the end of 2019.
The new service will also bring benefits for travellers between London and Brussels, where the journey time is cut from 2 hours 5 minutes to 1 hour 48 minutes.