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Skyscanner stacked RGB loch.png
Type of site
Travel Search Engine
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland
Owner Skyscanner Ltd
Revenue £120 million
Registration No

Skyscanner is a global metasearch engine for information on the World Wide Web that enables people to find comparisons for flights, hotels and car hire. The service is free to users and directs you to the airline, hotel, car hire provider or travel agency to complete the booking process.

The site is multilingual, offering flight searches in over 30 languages[1] including Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Spanish and Japanese.

Skyscanner does not sell flights directly; instead, the site can be used to find the cheapest deal for a desired route after which users are automatically transferred to the airline or travel supplier’s website to make their booking directly.

In addition to its flight search engine technology, Skyscanner also features regular news items from the travel and flight industry as well as travel tips for consumers.[2]

The company is headquartered in the United Kingdom with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, as well as Singapore, Sofia, Beijing, Miami,[3] Barcelona, (following Skyscanner's 2013 acquisition of Spanish hotel comparison firm, Fogg),[4][5] Budapest (after acquiring app development agency 'Distinction') [6] and Shenzhen, (following acquisition of Chinese company 'YouBibi') [7] and Tokyo (following a joint venture with Yahoo! Japan) [8]


The company was formed in 2001 by three IT professionals, Gareth Williams, Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes, after one of them was frustrated by the difficulties of finding cheap flights to ski resorts.[9]

Skyscanner version 1 was developed and released in 2002. In 2003, the first employee was taken on to assist with site development. In 2004 the Edinburgh office was opened and by 2013 the company employed over 180 staff.[10][3]

The site began life listing European budget airlines only, but has since expanded its search index to include most major European carriers, including BA, KLM and Virgin Atlantic Airways. It has also expanded its geographical reach to include carriers to, from and in the US, Canada, Asia and other parts of the world.

In 2011, Skyscanner acquired the door-to-door travel site Zoombu for an undisclosed sum.[11]

In September 2011, Skyscanner opened an office in Singapore from where it headquarters its Asia-Pacific operations.[12] In 2012 a Beijing office was opened and Skyscanner began a partnership with China's largest search engine Baidu.[13] In February 2013, Skyscanner announced plans to open a US base in Miami[3]

In October 2013, Sequoia Capital announced it had taken a stake in British travel search engine Skyscanner that values it at $800 million.[14]

In June 2014, Skyscanner acquired the Chinese travel search engine company, Youbibi, based in Shenzen, China.[15]

In August 2014, a market research study found that, in comparison to other travel websites, Skyscanner tended to have more users aged 16–34. The same study found that 64% of those who have used Skyscanner trust the platform.[16]

In October 2014, Skyscanner acquired the Budapest-based Mobile App Developer Distinction.[17]

In January 2016, Skyscanner announced that it has raised $192 million for international expansion.[18]

Market share and popularity[edit]

Skyscanner currently receives over 50 million visitors per month [19] and has an annual turnover of £120 million.[20] Skyscanner has won various awards including a Queen's Award for Enterprise, Travolution Brand of the Year 2011[21] and Best Flight Comparison 2010 from Travolution.[21]

The site has been well received by the UK media; in an "Online Cheap Flight Finding Experiment" run by The Guardian newspaper, Skyscanner was praised for finding the lowest flight fares and for "beating much bigger operators such as Expedia and Travelocity".[22] The site was also listed in The Independent newspaper's articles - "The Ten Best: Travel Sites".[23] and "101 Really Useful Websites".[24] The Daily Telegraph named Skyscanner as one of the 9 best travel websites.[25]

Skyscanner was name-checked in the track 'Detox' by UK grime artist and 2016 Mercury Prize winner Skepta: "Now I'm like an airhostess, how I jump on the flight / Skyscanner, I book it on-site" [26]

The market has expanded and many other companies provide similar services (either competing or collaborating) like, Dohop, Travelocity, JetRadar, Orbitz, CheapOair, Mobissimo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Hear, Steve (18 September 2012). "Skyscanner's Mobile Apps Hit 10M Downloads, Letting Users Find Cheap Flights On The Go". TechCrunch. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Travel News & Features - Skyscanner". Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Flight firm Skyscanner moves in to America". BBC. 4 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Skyscanner buys hotel search firm Fogg". BBC. 6 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Skycanner's Offices". Skyscanner. 6 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Skyscanner buys Hungarian mobile app firm Distinction". BBC. 22 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Skyscanner buys Chinese metasearch firm Youbibi". BBC. 25 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Skyscanner and Yahoo Japan aim to fly higher with joint venture". FT. 14 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Trapp, Roger (18 February 2006). "How to launch a great business". The Independent. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Smith, Mark (19 March 2011). "Earnings soar at flight firm Skyscanner". The Herald. Scotland. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Butcher, Mike (17 January 2011). "Travel search engine Skyscanner acquires Zoombu". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "Skyscanner to set up operation in Singapore". BBC. 26 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Skyscanner lands China search engine deal". BBC. 23 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Skyscanner valued at $800m by backer of Apple". 3 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  15. ^ "Skyscanner buys Chinese metasearch firm Youbibi". 25 June 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2016 – via 
  16. ^ "TripAdvisor Tops Travel Brand Awareness Index". 29 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  17. ^ O'Hear, Steve. "Travel Search Company Skyscanner Acquires Budapest-Based Mobile App Developer Distinction". Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "Travel Search Site Skyscanner Raises $192M For International Expansion". TechCrunch. 12 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Travel firm Skyscanner secures major investment". BBC. 12 January 2016. 
  20. ^ O'Hear, Steve (18 September 2012). "Skyscanner's Mobile Apps Hit 10M Downloads, Letting Users Find Cheap Flights On The Go". TechCrunch. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  21. ^ a b "Skyscanner Awards". 22 September 2010. 
  22. ^ Brignall, Miles; Patrick Collinson (17 September 2005). "Go online to get a flying start". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  23. ^ "The Ten Best: Travel websites". The Independent. 13 January 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  24. ^ Rebecca Armstrong, Rhodri Marsden, Abigail Outhwaite and Jimmy Lee Shreeve (11 June 2007). "101 Really Useful Websites". The Independent. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  25. ^ "Best websites: Travel". The Daily Telegraph. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  26. ^ "Detox by Skepta". Spotify. September 2016. 

External links[edit]