Airbnb made it easier for travelers to find a place to crash. Now it wants to make it easier for them to get around.
The $31 billion home-sharing giant has hired Fred Reid as its first-ever global head of transportation. Reid served as the founding chief executive officer of Virgin America from 2004 to 2007 after a three-year stint as the president of Delta Airlines. Most recently, Reid was president of the Cora Aircraft Program, a division of Kitty Hawk focused on the development of an autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
The hire suggests Airbnb has broad ambitions to further disrupt the travel and hospitality industry. Given the 500 million guest arrivals to Airbnb listings the company says it will have recorded by the first quarter of 2019, integrating transportation services to better serve customers is a no-brainer.
“We’re going to explore a broad range of ideas and partnerships that can make transportation better,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement. “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.”
Founded in 2008, Airbnb has raised a total of $4.4 billion in venture capital funding from investors, including Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz.