Aviation and AirBnb unite as seasoned airline professional Fred Reid joins the accommodation booking service as global head of transportation.

Fred Reid has got a stellar CV. He was President of Delta Airlines and Virgin America’s founding CEO. He was also the first American national to lead a major international airline, becoming president and COO of Lufthansa in 1996. He also helped build the code-sharing giant Star Alliance.

Now he’s taken the plunge and joined the gig economy with AirBnb. His role will be creating partnerships so travel becomes completely seamless. The aim will be to deliver “the kind of people-to-people hospitality Airbnb is known for around the world.”

There have been talks in the industry of AirBnb starting its own airline. CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said in February 2018 that he wants to make AirBnb a “one-stop shop for travel”. The appointment of Fred Reid therefore continues to raise the question.

But Mr Chesky also just recently said he isn’t interested in building his own AirBnb-branded airline. He only said that there is “tremendous opportunity” to improve transportation everywhere.

How do aviation and AirBnb even relate?

The aviation industry and travel accommodation are inherently connected. When you travelled to your last holiday destination, did you stay at an AirBnb? A confession – when we went to Wings Over Illawarra last year, we all stayed in an AirBnb (after a relaxing flight from Kingsford Smith Airport to Avalon Airport).

It’s no wonder then why AirBnb’s leadership wants the technology to be an end-to-end travel platform.

Mr Chesky thinks that AirBnb is well suited to use the platform to partner with other members of the travel and tourism professions. With over 5 million accommodation listings and with hundreds of millions of guests, they have a great start to realising this goal.

The platform expects to reach 500 million guests by the end of the first quarter of 2019. This is as the company is moving towards a possible Initial Public Offering (IPO).

In a statement, Mr Reid announced that realising the opportunities “will take years and require constant experimentation, and I’m truly honored to have the chance to take on such an audacious challenge with this team”.

As a one-stop shop for travel, we may even soon see bundled travel packages offered by the platform.

Avlaw Aviation Consulting welcomes a fellow airline professional into the travel industry as he pursues an innovative strategy combining aviation and AirBnb.