Data Acquisition

Data Acquisition is a vital part of the Skyscanner’s engineering infrastructure, being at its core the team that manages the vital integrations between Skyscanner and all the various providers of flight, hotel and car hire data, such that it’s comparable on the site.

The team work to ensure data is retrieved where and when it’s needed, in a timely, efficient and consistently formatted way for use by various teams around the business using RESTful APIs accessed as part of Data Acquisition’s various services.

The team’s two main areas of focus are price integrations - with our various third parties - and also the redirection service that takes a user from Skyscanner to their chosen third party to make their booking. In addition to this, there is extensive development of the team’s core systems and tools, both of which are areas that are constantly being evolved to best meet the dynamic needs of the company.

Data Acquisition’s codebase is written in Python, using many state-of-the-art open source libraries which are brought together in our core scraping system. Key techniques used as part of our integrations are: regular expressions, XPATH and JSONPath which are all used to extract data from both API integrations as well as more traditional screen scraping. Recent additions include using technologies like Selenium for test automation and AngularJS to help drive our powerful in-house integration tools.

Working in Data Acquisition offers a lot of unique opportunities to learn not only about how Skyscanner works - due to the integration work touching most of the key backend systems - but also to gain valuable insight into how the travel industry works for flights, hiring hotel rooms and renting cars. It’s a dynamic team that’s constantly self-reflective with the aim of improving its systems and processes that best suits engineers with a keen interest in data, web technologies, automation and the process of learning and understanding how complex systems interact with each other in order to solve the problem at hand.

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