Skyscanner Ltd., the travel-booking agency owned by China’s Trip.com, is preparing to cut almost 20% of its workforce and close several offices due to a drop in revenues during the COVID-19 lockdown, Bloomberg reported.
The Edinburgh-based company intends to consolidate operations in the UK and reduce its presence in Singapore and Miami. “While we’re confident of Skyscanner’s recovery in the long term and we are seeing early signs of growth in the sector, we now know it will take longer than originally anticipated for travel to return to normal,” a spokesperson told Edinburgh Evening News.
Skyscanner was founded in 2003 and acquired by Trip.com—formerly Ctrip—for USD 1.7 billion in 2016, to boost its global ambitions.
The travel industry is among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, and Skyscanner is not the only one responding by reducing the workforce.
Online travel giant Agoda was laying off 1,500 workers in May. TripAdvisor eliminated 600 roles in the US and Canada, and 300 more in other countries, as part of a 25% staff reduction. Air travel was particularly hard hit. Boeing announced cuts of more than 12,000 jobs in the US corresponding to 10% of its workforce.
Trip.com decided to refocus on the domestic Chinese market. The company upgraded internal systems and encouraged employees to improve skills and design new products and services to be better prepared for the eventual recovery. The company reported net revenue of RMB 4.7 billion (USD 669 million) for the first quarter of 2020, representing a 42% decrease from the same period in 2019.
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