Blockchain technology has become central o many industries as more business leaders recognize the immense potential it has. The latest to come on board is the air transport industry with a new report indicating that blockchain technology has emerged as the priority technology for future for future exploration among airports and airlines chief information officers. According to the report, close to 60 percent of airlines are engaging in research on blockchain tech, aiming to implement it by the year 2021.

Blockchain-Powered Airlines

Smart contracts are streamlining the insurance industry, real-time cross-border payments are revolutionizing the banking industry and decentralized ledgers are making logistics easier to manage and supply chains more efficient. Now, the air transport is turning to the nascent technology, a report by Geneva-based IT and telecommunications giant SITA has revealed.

As outlined in its recently released Air Transport IT Insights report, blockchain tech has multiple use cases which help all the stakeholders in the industry work more efficiently together. According to Gustavo Pina, a director at SITA, one of the greatest challenges facing the air transport is the “siloed processes” that are characteristic of the industry. This hinders collaboration between the stakeholders. Blockchain will eliminate this challenge, he stated.

“They [the siloed processes] act as significant speed bumps at every step of the way. By collaborating as a single industry, we can smooth that journey and blockchain is one of the technologies that has the potential to make that possible. This explains the industry’s significant interest in it

The applications of blockchain technology in the industry are many and vary, the report outlined. They include passenger identification, a process in dire need of a revolution. The report revealed that 40 percent of airlines and 36 percent of airports expect this to be the biggest benefit of applying blockchain technology.

Airlines also expect blockchain technology to be applied in the rolling out and awarding of passenger tokens for the frequent flyer programmes as well as e-tickets. Airport CIOs expect the biggest benefit after passenger identification to be the tracking of custody for luggage as well as increasing the efficiency of the operational processes.

The blockchain’s best attributes is its ability to support multi-enterprise applications, SITA’s report stated. Previously, all the stakeholders had to run their applications separately, with some of the applications sometimes requiring sharing data to run smoothly. The real-time data sharing will cut resources and time taken to exchange data between the applications.

The report further revealed that 59 percent of airlines have already began exploring blockchain applications, with most planning to implement the applications by 2021. This is a significant increase from the 42 percent registered last year.


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