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October 9, 2018updated 01 Feb 2021 4:57am

Study finds blockchain can play pivotal role in airport industry

Blockchain is quickly emerging as a key technology for future exploration among airport and airline CIOs across the world, thereby garnering the most research attention this year, according to new research by SITA.

Blockchain is quickly emerging as a key technology for future exploration among airport and airline CIOs across the world, thereby garnering the most research attention this year, according to new research by SITA.

The report, titled ‘2018 SITA Air Transport IT Insights’, points out that blockchain provides several benefits ranging from passenger identification to ticketing, asset tracking and managing frequent flyers programmes.

SITA Lab director Gustavo Pina said: “The biggest obstacles standing in the way of a seamless passenger journey and truly efficient air travel are the siloed processes across the many stakeholders, including airlines, airports, ground handlers and control authorities.

“They act as significant speed bumps at every step of the way. By collaborating as a single industry, we can smooth that journey and blockchain is one of the technologies that have the potential to make that possible. This explains the industry’s significant interest in it.”

Blockchain offers multi-enterprise applications that eliminates the requirement of individual applications running separately and exchanging data on a case-by-case basis.

As a result, this technology can offer a ‘single source of truth’ to all stakeholders.

“The biggest obstacles standing in the way of a seamless passenger journey and truly efficient air travel are the siloed processes across the many stakeholders, including airlines, airports, ground handlers and control authorities.”

According to the report, almost 59% of airlines have planned pilot or research programmes related to blockchain for implementation by 2021, a 42% increase from last year.

Airports are also focusing on experimenting with blockchain, with 34% planning research and development projects by 2021.

It is expected that blockchain will help both airlines and airports to modernise the passenger identification process, with 40% of airlines and 36% of airports saying this would be a major benefit.

Other important areas where blockchain could have a major impact include the launch of passenger tokens for frequent flyer programmes (34%) and e-tickets (31%).

Airport CIOs believe that the technology can help in baggage tracking (28%) and operational efficiency (24%).

To help drive the exploration of blockchain, SITA is investing in the infrastructure to accelerate industry-specific research into the viability of operating multi-enterprise apps using distributed ledger technology.

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