Kiwi has been losing money, and like other tech and travel firms, trimmed its staff.
Czech Republic-based Kiwi, which has taken a confrontational approach toward many airlines over the years as it scraped their websites without permission, laid off 18% of its staff, according to a published report.
The job cuts affect more than 200 of Kiwi’s 1,200 employees in four countries, e15 reported.
Kiwi CEO Oliver Dlouhy announced the layoffs on LinkedIn Tuesday, but didn’t provide job cut numbers.
“The market we operate in is now very different and our business and product has changed and continues to change which has meant taking necessary steps that will help us maintain a healthy and prosperous company in the long term,” Dlouhy wrote.
Is Kiwi Changing Its Strategy Toward Airlines?
After intense litigation with Ryanair and other airlines over the years for obtaining fare information without authorization and allegedly tacking on a variety of fees, Kiwi signed a partnership with Ryanair that the airline announced Monday.
Under the terms of the agreement, Kiwi will get access to Ryanair’s fares and ancillary services directly from the airline, the bookings will take place on Ryanair.com, and Kiwi agrees to send Ryanair customer contact and payment information. Kiwi also agrees not to overcharge Ryanair flyers for ancillary services, according to the airline.
Kiwi was also entangled in several lawsuits with Southwest airlines in 2021, with the airline alleging that Kiwi accessed its fares without authorization.
Kiwi, which is majority-owned by private equity firm General Atlantic, is looking to diversify revenue and retool its business approach. In 2022, Kiwi reported a loss of around $21 million on $260 million in revenue.
“The organizational structure with which the company has operated for many years was created to support a transactional business model that, at the time of its inception, met the needs of Kiwi.com, the market and our customers. But it does not reflect the changes that have taken place on the market since then,” a spokesperson said, according to e15.
Update: Kiwi confirmed Wednesday that the layoffs impacted 18% of employees, and were tied to cost cutting and transforming the business from being reliant on third parties for ticket selling to a direct-to-consumer business.
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Photo credit: A view of a common area at the offices of travel tech company Kiwi.com, which is located in a business park in the suburbs of Brno and was designed by Kaplan Architects. Source: Kiwi.com