Air France-KLM said it was exploring ways to use blockchain-based technology to cut costs for flyers and increase profits for suppliers by cutting out middlemen.
The airline said it had signed up a new partnership with Winding Tree, a specialist in blockchain-based travel bookings, to help test and develop Winding Tree’s technology.
Blockchain is a technology which allows for information storage and transmission without a central control body. It makes it possible to carry out transactions between two parties, without intermediaries. AF-KLM said it hoped the partnership would provide “a more advantageous travel offer for customers which is more profitable for suppliers, in particular by reducing the number of intermediaries.”
The move follows a similar deal between Lufthansa and Winding Tree in October last year, while research group Sita has separately completed a six-month trial of blockchain technology with BA and Heathrow and Miami airports, which focused on flight-status information. Airlines are hoping new technologies and big data might help them reduce the pressures of tight profit margins and intense competition.
Sonia Barrière, executive vice-president of strategy and innovation at Air France-KLM, said the company was proud to be one of the first airline groups to develop blockchain technology. “With Blockchain technology, we aim to revolutionise exchanges within the travel industry for our customers, companies, and start-ups,” she said.
Blockchain is most well-known for its role in the exchange of financial flows, through cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. But its decentralised functionality has made it increasingly popular with regulators and large companies seeking to manage large flows of data instead.