Bitcoin. It’s ‘Full Steam Ahead’ for Airlines

Air New Zealand Eyeing Blockchain Technology

Air New Zealand are moving forward and exploring blockchain technology as a way to improve security and efficiency which will include baggage tracking and booking tickets. In addition to this the airline is also considering blockchain in other key areas such as loyalty programmes and distribution.

Air New Zealand chief digital officer Ai Golan has stated that blockchain could offer a smooth way to market airfares and the airlines other products.

Winding Tree, the Swiss based travel company also in the game

Air New Zealand have formed a partnership with Switzerland based travel company Winding Tree and Golan believes this venture ensures that Air New Zealand will take advantage of fast and secure sharing of information plus providing benefits to customers such as reduced costs.

Another airline pressing forward with Winding Tree is Germany’s Lufthansa, although they are looking to develop a blockchain-based travel marketplace powered by a cryptographic token.

Shared Control of Data

But it doesn’t stop there as quite a few more airlines have joined, or are looking to join, the blockchain game. Russia’s S7 uses Ethereum blockchain to issue air tickets whilst Air France is exploring tech to track workflows in its aircrafts maintenance process. Also SITA, the air transport IT guys, have published details explaining how airlines and airport can use ‘smart contracts’ for shared control of data.

American Airlines

The Bitcoin bug is also making waves with American Airlines who were included in the $100 CoinGeek 20 company experiment. At first only Airbnb took up the offer of the free Bitcoin but others followed including American Airlines so they must have something on their agenda! CoinGeek’s commended the airline for trying something new rather that blindly discarding it.

Problems with Argentinian Peso – Is Bitcoin the Answer?

Still with American Airlines and their decision to stop accepting payments in Argentine P due to the Argentine government’s currency controls that made it difficult to convert Pesos to dollars. American Airlines flies daily from Buenos Aires to New York, Miami and Dallas making it the biggest U.S. carrier servicing Argentina so they need to find ways to keep this business viable and the borderless, cryptocurrency bitcoin could be the answer. Many Argentines are carrying out financial transactions with Bitcoin due to Argentina constantly suffering one financial crisis after another. They understand the appeal of Bitcoin and use it to protect themselves against their countries issues.

Poland and Latvia

Many other airlines including Polish Airline LOT and the Latvian low-cost carrier Air Baltic. They both accept payments with Bitcoins and allow payments from desktops, web or mobile Bitcoin wallets.

UATP

The Universal Air Travel Plan UATP, which is a global airlines payment system, has a partnership with Bitnet that allows UATP to offer its network of 260+ airlines the ability to accept Bitcoin payments in a simplified manner. UATP is owned by major airlines like British Airways, Delta and Lufthansa and covers 95% of scheduled worldwide.  American Airlines is already using UATP and it does make sense for customers to pay with Bitcoin given that the airline will have more cost effective fares and they know that money can’t be taken away in a fraudulent transaction.