Airlines take up blockchain challenge

While blockchain is still in the early stages of review in the airline industry, two airlines recently took big leaps forward.

Lufthansa and SAP have partnered to launch the “world’s first aviation blockchain challenge” in a push to find working blockchain solutions. The ideas competition will be run by Lufthansa Innovation Hub and the SAP.iO Foundries program in Berlin.

Gleb Tritus, managing director of the Lufthansa Innovation Hub, said he believes that blockchain has now passed the hype threshold and is showing potential for practical innovations that would generate value.

“While many industries have found their first use cases, the impact on the aviation sector is not noticeable yet. We want to change that together with SAP and see substantial potential in our industry to utilize blockchain and other plays of decentralized networks.”

The competition will focus on three categories:

  • Traveler Challenge: Ideas that offer clear added value for travelers and make travel more efficient throughout the journey
  • Airline Challenge: Airline-specific solutions that improve operations and associated processes.
  • Supplier Challenge: Ideas that might improve maintenance and supply chain management.

Tritus described the desired outcomes of the collaboration as:

“It is crucial to “filter the noise” and to find the right starting point where blockchain can deliver clear value…The best-case result would be a blockchain-based solution that fits certain aspects of our IT agenda and infrastructure, our strategic focus areas regarding digitization, and has a potential to scale and create clear bottom-line impact.”

At the same time, Singapore Airlines has made a significant stride forward in its digital innovation initiative by launching the KrisPay miles-based digital wallet that the airline announced this February. The “world’s first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet” was developed through a collaboration between Singapore Airlines, KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft.

KrisPay is now available for download on the Apple and Google Play store. It will allow KrisFlyer members to convert KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay digital currency which is accepted at 18 merchants offering services from food and beverage to petrol, retail and beauty services. Customers can make transactions starting as low as 15 KrisPay miles (equivalent to approximately S$0.10) and can use KrisPay miles to pay for their purchases in part or in full.

However, unlike airline miles which have a longer shelf life, KrisPay miles expire after six months. The app has an instant top-up function that would allow members to select the quantity of KrisFlyer miles that they want to pull from their loyalty accounts to convert to KrisPay for purchases.

Related reading from tnooz:

Blockchain in travel – on the move or not? (June 2018)

Sabre explains blockchain – somebody has to (April 2018)

Amadeus offers its take on Blockchain (October  2017)

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Marisa Garcia

About the Writer :: Marisa Garcia

Marisa Garcia is the tnooz aviation analyst. She has covered travel technology, design, branding, and strategy for leading publications, including Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, APEX Magazine, AirlineTrends, and Travel+Leisure. She also shares industry insights on her site Flight Chic. Fly with her on Twitter.

 

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