Airlines Starting to Adopt Crypto

Airlines Starting to Adopt CryptoToday, FAT Taiwan Inc., the company behind the Far Eastern Air Transport brand, has announced that it will accept crypto payments for tickets, making it the first Taiwanese airline to allow its clients to fly for cryptocurrency. The airline says it will fully accept cryptocurrency for the payment of tickets and all relevant services, with the aim of becoming a pioneer of cryptocurrency adoption in the aviation industry.

Zhang Gangwei, the airline’s president, commented: “The widespread use of cryptocurrency in various scenarios will usher in a new future for the airline business, lodging industry, OTA (Online Travel Agent) and the entire tourism sector. FAT is about to be the number one in the industry to embrace cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.”

That is actually a good news and it seems that Taiwanese are following the good example of the SIA Group’s Singapore Airlines brand, whose KrisFlyer frequent-flyer program is becoming worlds’ first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet that will help unlock the value of KrisFlyer miles and enable everyday spending at retail partners.

As it is said from the company: “We believe many others with any form of loyalty program will eventually follow suit, with retailers, hotel chains and credit card issuers being the most likely candidates. If done carefully, cryptocurrency-based loyalty programs could be a legitimate source of funding and operation improvements for these businesses. In particular, struggling consumer retail brands and hotel brands could leverage cryptocurrencies to renew their consumer appeal in face of competition from online players like Amazon and AirBnb.”

Furthermore, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said that he thinks that innovation has been a key contributor to the success of Singapore Airlines since their first day and that they are very excited about this world-first initiative, which will bring “even more benefits to members of the KrisFlyer programme.”

FAT Taiwan and Singapore Airlines are not the only airlines adopting blockchain technology. Last year, the Russian airline S7 implemented Ethereum blockchain powered ticketing system in partnership with Russian Alfa Bank. The partnership made it easier for the airline to sell tickets through the ticketing agents as S7 Airlines reported they can process settlements from its agents in record time. The settlement time drastically reduced; from earlier two weeks to mere minutes.

In France. we have AF-KLM’s engineering and maintenance division (Air France KLM MRO) evaluating the potential for blockchain to become its new digital ledger for managing replacement parts on airplanes. During a recent webinar, the airline’s MRO division joined Microsoft and Ramco Aviation to discuss their research into future uses of blockchain in aircraft maintenance.

This month, Japan’s low-cost airline Peach Aviation confirmed that their plan to allow Bitcoin as payment is only delayed, not cancelled.

Peach Aviation had initially announced in May 2017 that customers would be able to use Bitcoin as a payment method by the end of the year. However, in December 2017, the plan was postponed until March 2018.

With the airlines moving into blockchain today, it would be unfair not to mention a true pioneer – Latvian airline airBaltic decided to accept bitcoin way back in 2014, making it world’s first airline to accept Bitcoin as payment for its tickets to 60 destinations in Europe, Middle East, Russia and the CIS.

To make accepting Bitcoin possible, airBaltic teamed up with Bitpay, a third-party payment processor that converts Bitcoins into euros. The Bitcoin payment option is available when purchasing the discounted Economy tickets, known as airBaltic Basic class.

Last but not least is Australia’s Brisbane Airport that announced it will roll out cryptocurrency payments within the terminal shopping areas. The new payment system, provided by cryptocurrency travel firm TravelbyBit, will enable travelers to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash and other digital currencies to shop and dine at various stores and restaurants across both of Brisbane’s air terminals, a press release says.

Teuta Franjkovic

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