Some industry disagreement has already surfaced over Hitwise's data due to the fact that their analysis was based on a date range with an unusually low number of working days, which is thought to have influenced the results.

Skyscanner's analysis of its own data reveals that total traffic has risen by 32% in the past year. UK traffic was up 12%, and there has also been a significant rise in visitors from the USA (97%), Portugal (92%), The Netherlands (88%) and Germany (60%). This suggests that the online flight sector is not in the dire straits that Hitwise's report advocated.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder commented:

"There's no doubting that 2009 will be a tough year for the online travel industry, but our data suggests that either Skyscanner is bucking the downward trend, and/or the situation is not as bad as Hitwise reports. We have worked hard to improve Skyscanner by expanding our coverage and entering new markets over the last year and have seen growth in flight searches despite the economic gloom.

"Travel is still very important to consumers, as well as a necessity for many businesses. The real difference that the economic downturn has brought is the increased emphasis on finding the cheapest flights possible, which is undoubtedly one of the reasons why more users are coming to Skyscanner."

Skyscanner's multilingual site, which is available in 20 different languages including French, Spanish, German and Chinese, is helping expansion into new markets and Skyscanner also recently launched Top Level Domains for several of its key markets including: Skyscanner.de, Skyscanner.fr and Skyscanner.es, further boosting its profile in these territories.

Related Link: Skyscanner