According to a press release dated August 9, world-known Ethiad Airways, UAE national airlines, has partnered with blockchain platform Winding Tree to distribute products and services without the need of third parties intermediaries.
Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has recently announced partnered with Winding Tree, a decentralized platform that connects online travel agencies with suppliers of travel. Etihad Airways is the second-largest airline company in UAE with a fleet of 117 aircraft and operates more than 1000 flights per week worldwide.
While Winding Tree is an open-source ecosystem of smart contracts, interoperable API standards, and harmonized data structures that enable decentralized distribution and discovery of travel products and services. Thanks to Winding Tree travel service providers showcase their products without the need to go through an intermediary.
Ethiad has joined a multitude of airlines and hotels who are already using the Switzerland based platform. Winding Tree partners include worldwide leaders in the travel sectors such as Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Brussel Airlines, and Air Canada. These companies are testing innovative solutions based on the blockchain to cut-off inefficient intermediaries.
Market Inefficiencies and Disruptive Innovation
At the moment, travel companies usually rely on Global Distribution Systems (GDS) to manage their inventories such as flight times, travel itineraries and baggage tracking. Indeed Winding Tree has previously pointed to just three firms – Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport – controlling 99% of the non-direct ticket sale market. These systems are also used by B2C online services such as Booking.com and Expedia.
According to Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree’s co-founder and chief operating officer, the current system is loaded with high fees that could be bypassed thanks to their decentralized platform. Bringing disruptive innovation such as the blockchain technology to the travel sector will benefit mainly the final customers, who will enjoy smother services and better prices.
The airline sector is becoming increasingly interested in blockchain-based solutions to increase their operational efficiency and enhance the whole customer experience. In May, major Indian IT company Wipro announced the development of a digital reward system tailored for the airline industry.
In September 2018, NIIT Technologies Ltd. released its blockchain-powered solution “Chain-m” for the aviation industry, a backend process of settlement that improves the efficiency and trust between the parties involved in the streamline ticketing transactions.
In July 2018, KrisFlye, Singapore Airlines’ reward system, has launched the world’s first-ever digital wallet to store air miles which allow users to instantly and seamlessly convert their KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay credits for everyday spending at any confirmed partner merchants across the entire island