Air New Zealand is exploring the use of blockchain-based systems within its business, reinforcing its global reputation for innovation and embracing new and emerging technology.
Blockchain is being used globally to build encrypted, shared platforms, providing a secure and efficient way to track the exchange of goods or information. Air New Zealand is looking at a number of potential use cases for the distributed ledger technology including cargo and baggage tracking, retail, distribution and loyalty programme opportunities.
Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says applications of blockchain are developing rapidly, and the airline is excited by the possibilities.
“With its built-in efficiency and security, blockchain has the potential to trigger huge innovation in travel, paving the way for new business models and collaboration.”
Air New Zealand is partnering with Swiss travel platform Winding Tree, which is developing the world’s first travel marketplace on blockchain to connect suppliers such as airlines and hotels directly to sellers.
“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 from reduced transactional costs, and airlines benefit from swift and secure sharing of information,” says Mr Golan.
Winding Tree Founder and Chief Executive Officer Maksim Izmaylov says Winding Tree is a decentralised alternative to the current travel distribution landscape.
“With a business-to-business marketplace system powering blockchain-based travel booking transactions, startups and companies will be able to gain direct access to travel service providers’ offerings.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Air New Zealand, as it’s an important step in bringing blockchain technology to the travel industry and creating opportunity for innovation,” says Mr Izmaylov.
Air New Zealand has worked with a range of leading technology partners to introduce innovations to enhance the customer experience. These include its artificial intelligence backed chatbot Oscar, who helps customers with queries online and through the Air New Zealand mobile app, and its experiment with the social robot Chip, who assisted customers with check in at Sydney Airport earlier this year.
German carrier Lufthansa has also recently announced a partnership with Winding Tree.