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Airbnb Hires Airline Executive in Move to Offer Transportation Services

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Airbnb is preparing to add transportation options to its line-up of travel services as the online company seeks to find areas of growth outside its original home-renting business.

Airbnb said on Thursday it had hired veteran airline industry executive Fred Reid as its global head of transportation, marking the company’s most definitive step yet toward executing a plan more than two years in the works.

In late 2016, Airbnb unveiled efforts to become a full-service travel website and hinted at plans to include transportation services travelers could reserve at the same time they booked a home.

Since then, Airbnb has added offerings of guided tours and activities, restaurant reservations, luxury vacation homes and traditional hotels.

Chief Executive Brian Chesky said plane ticketing would not be added to the list.

“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,” Chesky said in emailed comments.

Airbnb did not specify what that would entail, but a person familiar with the company’s plans said it would partner with transportation providers so they could offer their services. That could include anything from a tour bus operator to a taxi fleet, tuk-tuk driver or river boat guide.

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