59% of airlines to launch blockchain program by 2021

Blockchain technology has been gaining interest in the air travel industry, with airlines and airports reportedly eager to introduce the technology.

According to the results of a study conducted by SITA (via AirportWorld), 59 per cent of airlines have blockchain pilot or research programs in their plans for implementation by 2021. In 2017, this figure stood much lower at 42 per cent.

Respondents said they expected blockchain to help improve services such as the rollout of tokens for frequent flyer programs and e-tickets.

Gustavo Pina, director of SITA Lab, said: “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.

“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. This explains the industry’s significant interest in it.”

In addition to airlines, airports are also considering an investment in blockchain, with 34 per cent planning to launch research and development projects within the next three years.

SITA will lead the Aviation Blockchain Sandbox, which will initially see access opened to the FlightChain (started by British Airways, Heathrow, Geneva Airport and Miami International Airport) smart contract.

“Through this collaborative innovation we will accelerate the learning for all and have already significant interest in pursuing cross-industry intitiatives through the Aviation Blockchain Sandbox initiative,” Pina added.