Airbnb appoints global head of transportation

Airbnb has appointed a new global head of transportation as part of its long-term plan to create an end-to-end booking platform for air travel as well as accommodation.

Fred Reid joins from Kitty Hawk-owned Cora Aircraft Program where he oversaw a project to develop a electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

His previous roles include being president of Flexjet, an independent operating unit of aviation manufacturer Bombardier; the founding chief executive of Virgin America; president of Delta Airlines and chief operating officer of Lufthansa, where he was one of the architects of the Star Alliance.

Reid said: “Airbnb and its incredible global community have revolutionized where you stay and what you can do when you travel.

“I’m excited to work with them to tackle the third part of the travel experience: how you get there. Whether in the air or on the ground, there are tremendous opportunities to create products and forge partnerships with other companies that make travel easier and even fun. Realising those opportunities will take years and require constant experimentation, and I’m truly honoured to have the chance to take on such an audacious challenge with this team.”

Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky said: “There was a time when getting on a plane was a magical trip of its own, but over the years, how you get to where you’re going has become an experience we endure, not enjoy. We believe that needs to change.

“We couldn’t ask for anyone better to take on this monumental task than Fred, and I’m honoured that he’s agreed to work with us.”

Airbnb, which predicts it will have 500 million guest arrivals using its peer-to-peer platform by the end of the first quarter of 2019, hopes to partner with partner companies to grow its model into different markets, such as aviation.

The shared economy platform launched experiences in 2016.

“We’re going to explore a broad range of ideas and partnerships that can make transportation better,” added Chesky. “We haven’t settled on exactly what those will look like.

“I’m not interested in building our own airline or creating just another place on the internet where you can buy a plane ticket, but there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the transportation experience for everyone.”

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