Future Flight: Air New Zealand is Experimenting with a Public Ethereum Blockchain
Air New Zealand, the country’s national airline, is exploring blockchain technology for “a number of potential use cases” including booking and baggage tracking via a partnership with Swiss startup Winding Tree.
In a notable announcement, Air New Zealand has confirmed tapping into blockchain for various applications such as retail airfares, cargo and baggage tracking, securing information and loyalty programs. The aim is to cut out intermediaries and connect startups and companies directly to service providers via Winding Tree’s B2B marketplace built on a public Ethereum-based blockchain. The platform enables blockchain-based transactions with both parties benefiting from lower transaction fees and straightforward, efficient information sharing.
Air New Zealand’s chief digital officer Avi Golan revealed the airline is “excited” by blockchain’s potential to “trigger new innovation and travel” and the possibility for entirely “new business models and innovation”.
While we are still exploring its benefits, blockchain may offer a streamlined way to retail airfares and ancillary products alongside our current channels. In removing complexity from the sales chain, customers benefit alongside our current channels. In removing complexity from the sales chain, customers benefit from reduced transactional costs, and airlines benefit from swift and secure sharing of information.
The New Zealand airline’s foray into exploring blockchain applications comes soon after German airline giant Lufthansa Group, one of the world’s biggest airline operators, revealed the development of “a large number” of blockchain travel apps for customers following a partnership with Winding Tree. ‘Simply put, in the future, airlines, hotels and other travel service providers will offer their services on Winding Tree’s platform,’ Lufthansa said, ‘and companies interested in content will only connect to the B2B blockchain-distributed digital marketplace to present specific offers tailored to their customers’ needs.’
Lufthansa also participated in Winding tree’s public presale of ‘Lif’ tokens earlier this month. In a significant show of support for the blockchain startup, Air New Zealand has also confirmed its participation as an investor in Winding Tree’s January token sale, according to a Reuters report.