Japan-based All Nippon Airways (Ana) has partnered with its subsidiary ANA NEO to launch the first aeronautical-themed NFT marketplace with the aim of revolutionising the aviation sector.

ANA NEO will promote its business in collaboration with the virtual travel platform ANA GranWhale and will offer NFT products for the first time under the ANA NFT collection.

Aviation photographer Luke Ozawa’s first NFT digital picture works will be among the first NFT items made accessible from ANA on May 30 2023.

The second product, available 7 June 2023, will be NFTs of two digital 3D aeroplanes, one of which will be a specially painted Boeing 787, which ANA unveiled as the worldwide launch client in 2011, as well as the first suggested design for the inaugural aircraft.

ANA NEO president Mitsuo Tomita highlighted the potential of NFTs in the aviation sector and how they may be used to develop a new channel for interacting with their customers: “As part of the first airline group to launch an NFT marketplace, we are excited to pioneer a new avenue to connect with our customers and enhance their experience.

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“Through this initiative, we aim to unlock the potential of NFTs in the aviation industry, bringing together the digital and physical realms to create unique and memorable experiences that unite the world in wonder.”

According to the ANA GranWhale introductory statement, it offers an innovative living experience in the metaverse that provides virtual travel, shopping, events and entertainment.

Users of the GranWhale platform, developed by ANA NEO, will be able to travel to and discover Kyoto and other locations all over the world in addition to purchasing NFTs while taking part in the experience.

NFTs are mostly created utilising Ethereum-blockchain technology and as a result, they represent a market that is increasing rapidly, allowing companies like ANA NEO to capitalise from their experience.

According to research from GlobalData, the blockchain market is likely to grow from $3.6bn in 2020 to $24.1bn in 2025 at a CAGR of 46%.

In addition to this the International Air Transport Association (IATA) highlighted in their blockchain in aviation white paper, that blockchain technology has the potential to be the future of the aviation industry.

IATA director of transformation Eric Léopold emphasises the impact on the industry and how it will develop in the future: “The rise of new technologies often comes hand in hand with a lot of hype. To some extent, Blockchain is showing signs similar to the beginning of the Internet and has the potential to have a comparable disruptive impact as it gains more maturity.

“The approach we have taken is to start with the needs of customers, address the pain points and opportunities to create more value.”

ANA Group intends to expand its NFT product portfolio in the future, focusing on the marketing of NFT content from distinctive items from various regions in Japan.