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Mon 6 May 2019 04:41 PM

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Skyscanner sees business soar in Middle East despite 'slower' growth

Skyscanner has no plans to invest directly in the Middle East market, according to its senior director of strategic partnerships Hugh Aitken

Skyscanner sees business soar in Middle East despite 'slower' growth
Despite Skyscanner’s performance in the region, Aitken said the company will not invest directly into Middle East sector as it’s seeing a slowdown due to higher capacity and matured routes.

Scottish-based travel metasearch engine Skyscanner is seeing over 100% year-on-year growth in the Middle East, according to its senior director of strategic partnerships.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Hugh Aitken said the growth is led largely by mobile bookings.

“We’ve grown by over 100% in this region (Middle East) so we’re seeing significant growth, particularly with mobile, which is our dominant [method of booking] and searching,” he said.

Despite Skyscanner’s performance in the region, Aitken said the company will not invest directly into Middle East sector as it’s seeing a slowdown due to higher capacity and matured routes.

“Not at this stage… [we’re] not directly investing [in the region],” he said.

“If you look at this industry from a macro level, there’s been a slowing [down]… there’s still growth in this region, but it’s maybe just slightly slower than it has been in the past few years. We have loads of different factors.

“Certainly, there are macro factors regionally and globally [such as] capacity… we’ve had very fast growth from a lot of the regional carriers in the past few years and that’s maybe slowed slightly and the capacity of particular routes has matured,” he said.

But Aitken added that carriers such as Emirates are “supremely good at finding new opportunity and growth markets,” and that regional low cost carries like Flydubai still have room to expand.

“We have seen very strong LCC (low cost carriers) growth in the region, and LCCs have still got a lot of maturity to go. You’ve got Flyadeal or Flydubai in the sector; we’ll certainly see growth there. There are lots of untapped markets, some of regional points, because LCCs are very good at growing that point-to-point market,” he said.

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