Business World

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Airbnb brings aviation expert on board in aim to create end-to-end travel platform

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Airbnb have brought an aviation industry expert on board as part of their ambition to create an end-to-end travel platform.

As Global Head of Transportation for the San Francisco-headquartered company, Fred Reid brings more than three decades of experience in aviation with him.

His role is to focus on creating a holistic travelling experience for the Airbnb user, by building partnerships with others in the travel and tourism industry.

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that the group couldn't have asked for anyone better to take on this "monumental task".

"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," he said.

Fred joins Airbnb from his role as President of Cora Aircraft Program, a division of Kitty Hawk, and prior to that, he was President of Flexjet, an independent operating unit of Bombardier.

He was also the founding chief of Virgin America, served as President of Delta Airlines and led the formation of SkyTeam. In 1996, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Lufthansa German Airlines and was the co-architect of the Star Alliance.

"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," he said.

Mr Chesky said that he was not interesting in building an Airbnb airline or being just an online hub to buy a plane ticket. 

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

Between November 2016 and November 2017, around 1.2 million people travelled in Ireland using Airbnb, with almost 90pc of guests visiting for a holiday or for leisure.

Most popular destinations for guests are Irish cities, with Dublin and Galway the top two most travelled hotspots in Ireland.

Tourists are also drawn to the Wild Atlantic Way route as Killarney, Cork and Dingle are also hugely popular for visitors.

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