TRAVEL AND BLOCKCHAIN

Business Traveller (Africa) - - FEATURE – TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY -

Blockchain is fast emerg­ing as the pri­or­ity tech­nol­ogy for fu­ture ex­plo­ration among air­port and air­line CIOs glob­ally, at­tract­ing the most re­search at­ten­tion in 2018. That’s ac­cord­ing to new re­search re­leased by SITA.

The 2018 SITA Air Trans­port IT In­sights shows that blockchain of­fers mul­ti­ple use cases, rang­ing from pas­sen­ger iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to tick­et­ing, as­set track­ing and man­ag­ing fre­quent fly­ers pro­grams.

“The big­gest ob­sta­cles stand­ing in the way of a seam­less pas­sen­ger jour­ney and truly ef­fi­cient air travel are the siloed pro­cesses across the many stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing air­lines, air­ports, ground han­dlers and con­trol au­thor­i­ties,” says Gus­tavo Pina, Di­rec­tor of SITA Lab. “They 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.”

One of the key ben­e­fits of blockchain tech­nol­ogy is the abil­ity to have mul­ti­en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tions. Th­ese work across mul­ti­ple or­ga­ni­za­tions lock­ing data im­mutably into the blockchain rather than hav­ing in­di­vid­ual ap­pli­ca­tions run­ning sep­a­rately and ex­chang­ing data on a case-by-case ba­sis. This is how this tech­nol­ogy can pro­vide a ‘sin­gle source of truth’ to all stake­hold­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to SITA, to­day, 59% of air­lines have pi­lot or re­search pro­grams planned around blockchain for im­ple­men­ta­tion by 2021, which is up from 42% last year. Sim­i­larly, air­ports also con­tinue to ex­per­i­ment with blockchain, with 34% plan­ning R&D projects by 2021. The most com­monly ex­pected use of blockchain for both air­lines and air­ports is to stream­line the pas­sen­ger iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process, with 40% of air­lines and 36% of air­ports say­ing this would be a ma­jor ben­e­fit.

While the fo­cus in the in­dus­try is pre­dom­i­nately on pas­sen­ger iden­tity man­age­ment, both air­lines and air­ports also see that blockchain could have ma­jor ben­e­fits across sev­eral other use cases. Air­lines stated that they ex­pected blockchain tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide ben­e­fits in the roll-out of pas­sen­ger to­kens for fre­quent flyer pro­grams (34%) and e-tick­ets (31%). Air­port CIOs have item cus­tody change track­ing (such as bag­gage) (28%) and op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency (24%) as other ar­eas that have po­ten­tial ben­e­fits.

For more on blockchain in the travel in­dus­try, see page 28.

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