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Skyscanner to Cut Hundreds of Jobs due to Covid-19 Disruption

Ross Kelly

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Skyscanner

Hundreds of jobs will be cut at the travel tech firm.

Edinburgh-founded tech firm Skyscanner has revealed it will cut 20% of its total workforce, with 84 jobs on the line at its Edinburgh head office.

In a statement yesterday, Skyscanner chief executive Moshe Rafiah said the firm will cut around 300 staff in total and close two offices in Budapest and Sofia.

As Skyscanner attempts to weather the storm of the pandemic, the firm will also centralise its marketing teams in the United Kingdom.

“We’re proposing a consolidation of our office footprint, a centralisation of our marketing teams to the UK, and optimisation of our organisational structure,” Rafiah said.

“As a result of this, we anticipate around 20% of our 1,500 staff globally will, unfortunately, leave the business. We’re sorry to say that two of our smaller offices (Budapest and Sofia, where we have less than 38 people each) will likely close,” he added.

The Covid-19 outbreak has greatly impacted the travel industry. Flight operators including British Airways and Easyjet both announced job cuts as a result of the pandemic and have scaled back operations due to the steep fall in consumer demand.

This week, Virgin Atlantic finalised a rescue deal worth around £1.2bn in an effort to protect thousands of jobs. The travel operator previously said it will cut 3,500 staff but hopes to secure a lifeline for its remaining 6,500 employees.

Initially, Skyscanner took measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic by freezing essential hiring and reducing discretionary spending. The firm also introduced a voluntary change to working patterns, Rafiah revealed.

“We had hoped those actions would be enough. However, while we’re confident of Skyscanner’s recovery in the long-term and we’re seeing early signs of growth in the sector, we know it will take longer than originally anticipated for travel to return to normal,” he said.

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Moving forward, Skyscanner will have 60 new roles available through the restructuring process and current employees will be prioritised for the positions.

“We will follow local consultation processes and look to mitigate the impact of redundancies when possible,” Rafiah commented.

“This is an incredibly hard time for our people and teams, so throughout this process our priority – as it always is – will be to treat everyone with empathy, care and respect,” he added.

Skyscanner, which is headquartered in Edinburgh, was founded in 2003 by Gareth Williams, Barry Smith, and Bonamy Grimes. In 2016, the firm became Scotland’s first ‘tech unicorn’ – a firm valued at more than $1 billion – when it was sold to Chinese conglomerate Ctrip in a £1.4bn deal.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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