Blockchain-based Travel Platform Winding Tree Partners with Air New Zealand

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by Andy Watson · 3 min read
Blockchain-based Travel Platform Winding Tree Partners with Air New Zealand
Photo: Winding Tree / Twitter

Aid New Zealand discoveries technology of a blockchain for “a number of potential options of use”, including booking and tracking of baggage through partnership with the Swiss startup Winding Tree.

For the past few years a number of travel startups were trying to enter world’s travel market, but with a few leading players controlling all the inventory (flights, hotel rooms, car rentals etc.) it’s hard to break through.

A few big companies trying to monopolize travel market innovate very slowly and lock down their partners and customers. But while the majority of other ongoing startups are lacking, such as Webjet and S7 private versions of Ethereum, Winding Tree seems to be really perspective.

The point is that Winding Tree for now is the only open source, public blockchain project in Travel industry. In the words of its founders, Winding Tree is a “blockchain-powered B2B marketplace for travel inventory (air travel, hotel rooms, car rentals, tours and activities etc).”

The main purpose of the project is to exclude all the rent-seeking intermediaries from today’s closed ecosystem of travel industry and to design an open decentralized platform, where suppliers can take control over their own inventory and list it without overpaying.

Air New Zealand reported that on Wednesday it has united with the Winding Tree for launch an application founded on blockchain technology which can help New Zealand’s carrier to increase efficiency and safety of such services as booking and tracking of baggage. The New Zealand airline has also stated that it invests in the sale of tokens of Winding Tree planned for January of 2018. Air New Zealand hasn’t opened how many it intends to invest.

Token sales or initial coin offerings have become a way for start-ups in the blockchain space around the world to raise funds quickly and without regulatory oversight.

Air New Zealand chief digital officer Avi Golan said in a statement the airline is looking at a number of potential blockchain uses such as cargo and baggage tracking, retail, distribution, and loyalty program opportunities.

He added:

“While we are still exploring its benefits, blockchain may offer a streamlined way to retail airfares and ancillary products alongside our current channels. In making the sales process less complex, Air New Zealand customers can benefit from reduced transactional costs, while the airline can take advantage of the swift and secure sharing of information, he added.”

Air New Zealand stated that it works with a number of technological partners for introduction of innovations in the company. These include chatbot Oscar supported by artificial intelligence which helps clients with queries online and through a mobile application of Air New Zealand. The airline has also experimented with the social robot Chip, which assisted customers with check-ins at the Sydney Airport earlier this year.

German national carrier Lufthansa has also recently announced partnerships with Winding Tree. Lufthansa was interested in exploring use cases that would put booking, rebooking, and traveler itinerary information on the blockchain.

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