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The UAE’s Etihad Airways has established collaboration with the Swiss blockchain platform Winding Tree to enhance logistics and distribution services.
Etihad Airways, the second-largest airline in the United Arab Emirates headquartered in Abu Dhabi, has entered a partnership with a Swiss-based platform, to seek out more ways blockchain technology can be used for its business and help with distribution.
Winding Tree Takes Things up a Notch
Etihad has now become the newest airline to adopt the Winding Tree platform to increase its efficiency by reducing customer transaction payments and also to help the airline with support for its logistics distribution system. The platform is also being used in the hospitality sector by Nordic Choice, citizenM Hotels and Airport Hotel Basel.
Etihad’s Director of Digital and Innovation, Tristan Thomas, commented their new partnership the following way:
“Winding Tree is obviously our distribution platform and that’s an opportunity for us to disrupt a traditionally siloed market dominated by major distribution systems.”
At the moment, other options like Amadeus and Sabre are being used for solutions offering real-time record distribution and the assembling of data for these airlines on flights as well as with the hospitality industry for rooms. With Winding Tree, however, these institutions would not need any middlemen or intermediaries and would be able to circulate all necessary inventories directly to the required customers.
It should be noted that the platform may not be accessible to individual customers as that is not the goal. However, the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Winding Tree, Pedro Anderson, has said that the platform brings about competition in the sector which in turn becomes extremely beneficial to the end customers. Anderson noted:
“We have been doing experiments and new solutions on the platform. Ultimately, that benefits the consumer. When there’s innovation, you start to have disruption; you have competition which results in better prices for the consumer.”
Thomas also further highlighted the need for disruption, to create as much of a level playing field as possible. “Very few have chosen to disrupt the distribution world and that’s because those are major players with very significant margins that have acted to keep that kind of a closed shop,” added he.
Blockchain and Aviation
The Winding Tree platform has already been deployed by other airlines like Lufthansa, S7, Air Canada and Air France. Lufthansa’s chapter began in 2017 when a travel marketplace was created based on blockchain technology and included a token system. Also, a blockchain system was created for the S7 airline in Russia. The system presupposes a possibility to issue airline tickets.
Air Canada announced its own partnership with Winding Tree in October 2018. The airline’s Director of Global Product Distribution, Keith Wallis, said the platform would help increase access to its many customers.
Away from Winding Tree, there have been other uses for blockchain technology in the aviation industry. About a week ago, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific airline announced that it would begin using blockchain for unit load devices. Cathay Pacific also hopes to completely discontinue using paper for any of its functions, using blockchain to make everything more seamless and accessible through a smartphone.