Skyscanner, the travel-booking service owned by China’s Trip.com., is preparing to cut as much as a fifth of its workforce and close several offices after revenues collapsed following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The company, dealing with the fallout of the global coronavirus pandemic, intends to consolidate its operations in the UK, close its Sofia and Budapest offices and reduce its presence in Singapore and Miami, according to an internal email from chief executive Moshe Rafiah.
In total, it anticipates “that of our 1,500 Skyscanner employees around 20% may leave us”, Mr Rafiah wrote. Those will either be let go or accept voluntary redundancy, according to a person familiar with the plans.
Mr Rafiah hosted a conference call with 1,200 of the company’s employees before sending out the message detailing the plans, said the source. Skyscanner’s revenues “have been hit significantly” and the company is having to adapt to a radically different travel industry where “a full recovery to our previous scale before Covid-19 looks to be several quarters or possibly years away”, wrote the CEO.
“While we’re confident of Skyscanner’s recovery in the long-term and we’re seeing early signs of growth in the sector, we now know it will take longer than originally anticipated for travel to return to normal,” said a Skyscanner spokesperson in a statement.
Trip.com, formerly known as Ctrip, is a dominant force in China’s domestic travel market and acquired Edinburgh-based Skyscanner in 2016 for $1.7bn (€1.5bn) to boost its global ambitions. Before the coronavirus disrupted global travel, the company touted that more than 100 million people relied on its app and website to help them with their travel plans.
With its main offices in the Scottish capital and London, Skyscanner will now centralise marketing operations in the UK and will look for a new office for its reduced Miami operations while its employees there continue working from home. Bloomberg