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Skyscanner Wants to Be a Global Player, Claims Its Growth Is on Steroids


Feb 05, 2014 3:00 pm

Skift Take

For years Skyscanner launched a plethora of country domains as if it were a major global player, which it wasn’t. Now it is finally starting to put a little meat on its bones outside of Europe, and its competitors are only now starting to pay attention.

— Dennis Schaal

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Skyscanner's Japanese site. PlaceIt by Breezi

Skyscanner, the flight-metasearch service that is branching out into hotels, says its revenue increased 96% to $108.6 million in 2013, its fastest pace in three years.

The Scotland-based company, founded in 2001 and a bigger player in Europe than the U.S., has expanded into Asia-Pacific over the last couple of years and recently into the Americas, and is striving to become a global player.

The revenue number would make Skyscanner roughly one-third the size of Kayak, which in its last full-year public financial disclosure reported that it generated $292.7 million in revenue for 2012.

Beyond the Boast

As a private company, Skyscanner can publish performance numbers without much scrutiny, so a bit of skepticism is in order.

For example, in late November Skyscanner CEO Gareth Williams told Skift that the company was on track to do $6 billion in air ticket gross bookings in 2013.

Asked today whether Skyscanner had acheived that mark, a spokesperson said Skyscanner reached $7 billion in air ticket gross bookings in 2013, meaning it supposedly busted its objectives by more than $1 billion within the span of about 5 weeks.

Skyscanner also didn’t disclose any profit or loss numbers.

If the revenue numbers are to be believed, an executive at one competitor gives Skyscanner some grudging respect, saying exceeding the $100 million revenue mark is an accomplishment.

“Plus they doubled revenue in a year,” the competitor said. “Credit where credit is due.”

CFO Shane Corstorphine says the company’s growth has been driven by both its Web and mobile platforms, with Asia-Pacific being especially on the upswing.

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