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Should Airbnb start an airline?

01/26/2018| 5:19:00 PM| 中文

With a Poppi-styled airline Chesky might have his way and revolutionize air travel.

A recent report in Fast Company reveals friction between Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and CFO Laurence Tosi over the possibility of an Airbnb-branded airline.

Should Airbnb launch an airline? Well, the easy and immediate answer is that no company in its right mind should ever launch an airline and any company that already owns an airline should re-think its life choices.

After all, the airline industry is one of the most asset-heavy industries and one of the lowest profit-margin industries in the world. It also has to contend with regulations that limit growth and competitiveness, significant labor and up-keep costs, and the fact that no consumer really ever really likes them even when they do their best.

These points seem to be at the heart of Tosi’s objections who, according to the Information, would recommend more modest forays into aviation, by integrating with Skyscanner or buying Hopper, or doing something else that makes booking flights convenient through the Airbnb app without actually having to fly passengers there.

Since the success of Airbnb to date has largely hinged on it operating without investing in properties, Tosi’s view makes perfect sense.

It’s possible (likely even) that Chesky was merely letting his imagination fly, but there is one business model already proposed by industry designers which would come close to an Airbnb airline, if he ever wanted to follow that path further.

The Poppi concept, developed by the Seattle-based design firm TEAGUE, which is well respected for its work in the transport and aviation sectors, is adaptable to a “virtual” airline concept.

TEAGUE touted Poppi as an airline that anticipates disruption, so it would be suitable to adoption by a disruptor.

With a Poppi-styled airline Chesky might have his way and revolutionize air travel.

Of course, the safest bet is for Airbnb to remain grounded, or remotely tethered to planes by facilitating flight search for dead-leg private jet flights.

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TAGS: Airbnb | short-term rental | Poppi
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