As previously reported by Crypto Disrupt, the airline industry is one of the most eagerly awaited blockchain applications, and also the industry that appeared to be the slowest when it came to adoption. But a new SITA study indicates that the aviation industry is softening its stance on blockchain, and we could see its adoption in the near future.
SITA study – DLT gaining traction in the aviation industry
According to research released from SITA and cited in the Airport World online news outlet, DLT is going to be a priority for airlines in 2019 and beyond. SITA is a multinational Swiss-based IT research company that specializes in the air transport industry, collaborating with industrial participants to encourage technical innovation in the sector. They claim to provide services to over 90% of the world’s airlines.
SITA aims to revolutionize the whole travel process so that it is completely smooth, safe, and easy. Which is in many ways the exact opposite of the current state of affairs when traveling by air. 59% of airlines have DLT research programs underway to be implemented by 2021. This is up 42% from last year. Passenger identification is the most commonly cited use case of DLT in aviation, with 40% of airlines and 36% of airports stating it would be of benefit.
Aside from research programs and general interest, there is already some uptake on DLT in the air travel sector. Brisbane airport accepts cryptocurrency, Schipol airport in Amsterdam recently launched its first cryptocurrency ATM, and CheapAir and other flight aggregators accept a variety of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. Dubai is set to become the world’s first passport-free airport if its plans go ahead. It intends to use a combination of biometric scanning and blockchain technology to replace physical paper and has an agreement in place with UK blockchain company Object Tech to create digital passports. In many respects, carrying around a physical passport is not only archaic but dangerous if it goes missing.
The future of DLT in aviation
The use cases of DLT in the airline sector are immense, possibly eliminating the hourly queues and humiliating practice of random searches, passport/ticket triple checks, and early check-in. Use cases mentioned by SITA included ticketing, passenger, identification, asset tracking, baggage, and frequent flying. It could bring together the disparate parts of air travel to make the whole experience more integrated. According to SITA, there are –
“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.”
We could soon reach a point where we check in online from our computers using a retina/fingerprint scan and drop our bags on a manual conveyor belt on arrival. The retina scan is verified once on arrival past the entry point and no humans are needed to upload any data in the process. The data would be stored on a distributed ledger. Given that all of this technology is here, the question is why has it not already been adopted, given the immense stress caused by modern air travel practices.
Digital Nomad with an interest in Zen and Blockchain technology.
Law graduate with 3 years experience as a consultant in the capital markets industry and 4 years experience freelancing on UpWork as a Creative Writer.