Airline joins `NFT' craze
An eastern European airline is joining the craze for “non-fungible tokens” — or digital certificates of authenticity — as it plots a course out of a health crisis that has wrought untold devastation on the aviation sector. Airbaltic, based in Latvia, says it will make history when it releases limited collector NFTS showcasing an individual Airbus A220-300 with its registration. It will also include a piece of art described as “one of the most beloved Latvian cities” to promote tourism. The carrier's chief executive, Martin Gauss, said the blockchain technology that underpins NFTS and cryptocurrencies is here to stay and it is important that airlines tap its potential. “After being the first airline to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, it is the next step for us in blockchain technology to offer non-fungible tokens,” he said. “NFTS are not only used for digital art transactions but may as well be expanded to tickets for concerts and other unique one-time pieces, including airline tickets.” Gauss said the sale of NFTS will also boost tourism efforts for cities in Latvia, “certainly still an undiscovered destination for many.” The airline will be connecting the Latvian capital, Riga, with sun destinations in the Mediterranean this summer as it prepares for an upswing in demand as the pandemic abates amid widespread vaccine rollouts.