Skyscanner defies downturn

Skyscanner defies downturn

Scottish online travel research company Skyscanner has reported a surge in business, and says it expects revenues of £9m in the year to May, compared with £3.5m in the previous 12 months.

According to its chief executive, Gareth Williams, the company was benefiting in the downturn because leisure and business customers were becoming more cost-conscious. “There is still a huge appetite for travel but people are looking to do it more economically,” he said.

Mr Williams started the business with Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes eight years ago because they thought that finding the cheapest or most convenient flight online was unnecessarily complicated.

The Edinburgh-based company was launched eight years ago, and now employs 58 people, 10 of them based in Poland.

Skyscanner now provides instant online comparison on flight prices for more than 670,000 routes on more than 600 airlines. It plans to become the first flight search engine to cover every scheduled flight, budget and chartered airline.

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The site boasts more than 7m visits to its site each month, and receives about two-thirds of its business from outside the UK.

Williams said that there was considerable scope for consolidation in the industry - particularly in Europe. The company is also keen to increase its activities in North America, which currently accounts for only 5 per cent of turnover.