Blockchain: Industry leaders weigh in

It’s the buzzword we keep hearing more and more but what impact will this revolutionary technology have on the travel industry? Let’s take a closer look at some of the travel industry’s heavy weights recent comments.


IATA on blockchain: ‘It is still very early days, we need to explore the opportunities’

IATA New Distribution Capability (NDC) Programme director Yanik Hoyles, stated: “It is still very early days, we need to explore the opportunities”. He added: “It is a solution looking for the problem it’s going to solve. Everyone’s exploring it. Where we find applications, I’m sure people will use it”.


Boxever sees blockchain as ‘natural fit where there is a need to distribute information’

Boxever client solutions director Paul Murrell, stated blockchain is a “natural fit where there is a need to distribute information”. He continued: “It’s a question of trust and veracity. Spare parts tracking [could be a good application] and flight status information, which comes from multiple sources”.


Mezi says AI, biometrics and blockchain are here to stay but will not transform lives tomorrow

Mezi VP global travel strategy and partnerships Johnny Thorsen, stated: “Things like AI, biometrics and blockchain are here to stay, but they are not going to transform our lives tomorrow”. He added: “Online took 10 years; blockchain will probably take half as long and it’s happening now. Loyalty and FFP have blockchain potential. Booking is hardest due to the interdependencies, but airlines will experiment with small quantities of seats”.


SITA says blockchain has huge potential in aviation industry

SITA VP strategy management air travel solutions Ian Ryder, stated blockchain has the “potential to give a single identity that can be shared and that’s the direction we’re going in. Allied to biometrics, it will transform the airport experience”.


OAG notes ‘disruptive technology’ in travel tech adoption

OAG, via its official blog, noted the existence of a number of “disruptive technologies promising to revolutionise the travel industry”, including biometrics, blockchain, virtual reality, predictive analytics and supersonic aircraft. OAG noted that a few innovations, such as biometric fingerprint and iris scanning, are being implemented, while “only time will tell if newer concepts, like virtual reality, will move past the hype phase”. OAG noted that findings from its  new travel tech report, based on a survey of more than 2000 leisure and business travellers, show the outlook for AI adoption is extremely positive. The technology has “tremendous potential for streamlining the end-to-end travel experience”:

  • 60% of all travellers and 72% of millennials said using AI to predict flight cancellations and delays would be valuable on the day of travel;
  • 73% of all travellers and 89% of millennials said using AI to predict flight pricing during the booking process would positively impact their travel endeavours;
  • 26% of all travellers said AI-based travel booking and itinerary management systems would improve their travel experience.

ATMC chairman: Cryptocurrency will streamline payments for TMCs

Association of Travel Management Companies (ATMC) chairman Rob Dell, speaking at the CAPA Canberra Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit, stated: “Cryptocurrencies [which are based on Blockchain technology] aren’t going to have an exchange rate, so they’re capable of streamlining payments for the TMC industry”.


MasterCard: Blockchain will ‘revolutionise’ travel industry when all parties on board

MasterCard director commercial payments public sector Michelle Dritmanis, speaking at the CAPA Canberra Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit, commented on new payment systems, stating: “Not all banks are Apple Pay users so we’re still quite some way off [technology adoption]. FinTechs are the ones to watch in the future”. Commenting on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, Ms Dritmanis added: “It will revolutionise the travel industry, but all the parties have got to be on board”.


AirAsia considering blockchain and cryptocurrency for loyalty programme

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes backs blockchain technology as the carrier considers introducing blockchain systems to develop a cryptocurrency for the AirAsia BIG Loyalty programme. Mr Fernandes said: “I think those BIG Points can be easily transferred to the blockchain” and added: “We have a product that can be a currency in BIG Loyalty, we’re building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely. We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency, there’s no point having a currency that can’t be used”.