Air Canada has become yet another airline along with Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa to partner with the blockchain-based travel distribution platform Winding Tree.
Winding Tree has created an open blockchain-based marketplace where travel agents can arrange flights while also setting their own commission rates. The company boasts of enabling agents to remove intermediaries that currently charge excessive fees and act as gatekeepers.
Along with flights, travel agents using the blockchain service can also offer a range of ancillary services to travelers based on their past travel preferences. Air Canada has commented that this will open up greater competition in the market and encourage further innovation in the air travel sector. Keith Wallis, Director of Global Product Distribution for Air Canada, commented that such projects which integrate blockchain solutions are “giving blockchain-savvy users the ability to access our content directly from the source.” He added:
“As Canada’s largest airline and a global leader in innovative airline distribution solutions, Air Canada recognizes the importance of leveraging this next generation technology.”
Winding Tree suggests that it puts suppliers, sellers and travellers in control of their own data, determining who sees their inventories, and by opening up their platform allows entrepreneurs to experiment with new business models in a safe and secure way. Pedro Anderson, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Winding Tree says that by becoming the first North American airline to work with, the Winding Tree public blockchain platform Air Canada “is showing itself to be a real leader in innovation,”
Payment transactions on the Winding Tree platform will utilize their Lif cryptocurrency token, although as yet Air Canada hasn’t confirmed if it plans to receive Lif payments as flights are organized through the platform. In the meantime, Winding Tree has said that it will be continuing to develop its programme of smart contracts for airline services with plans to launch its own mainnet towards the end of this year or possibly in 2019.
For many travellers though, blockchain tech is needed once flights are booked; the airport is a clear point of stress for many, having to endure endless ticketing and immigration queues, followed by baggage check-ins, then the sheep pens of passport and visa checks. Face recognition is beginning to be adopted, but inconsistently, and retinal scans and fingerprinting offering maximum security in this age of heightened terrorist activity, are rare to non-existent.
Decentralized digital identities remain the realm of fantasy movies such as Mission Impossible but in the real world, travellers must make do with sagging outmoded systems. Airports are still way behind, when it comes to adopting these developing technologies.
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