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Skyscanner cutting jobs and offices after bookings collapse

[EDINBURGH] Skyscanner, the travel-booking service owned by China's Trip.com Group, 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 Officer Moshe Rafiah seen by Bloomberg News.

In total, it anticipates "that of our 1,500 Skyscanner employees around 20 per cent may leave us," Mr Rafiah wrote. Those will either be let go or accept voluntary redundancy, according to a person familiar with the plans who asked not to be named as they are not public.

Rafiah hosted a conference call with 1,200 of the company's employees on Tuesday before sending out the message detailing the plans, said the person. 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 an emailed statement. The Edinburgh Evening News originally reported news of the potential job cuts.

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Trip.com, formerly known as Ctrip, is a dominant force in China's domestic travel market and acquired Edinburgh-based Skyscanner in 2016 for US$1.7 billion in order 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 focus 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.

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