Singapore Airlines, one of the world’s leading airline operators, is set to launch a blockchain-based loyalty wallet to enhance and further frequent flyers’ spending of accumulated air miles.
Singapore Airlines (SIA), has announced its plan to launch a loyalty digital wallet based on blockchain technology for its KrisFlyer frequent-flyer program, enabling travelers to easily spend their air miles at retail partners. The application will help with ‘everyday spending’ of passengers’ digital KrisFlyer miles in ‘point-of-sale transactions at participating retail merchants,’ the announcement added.
While details are scarce, SIA will deploy its own private blockchain that sees participating merchants and partners for the digital loyalty program. The airline operator confirmed a successful deployment of the application in a proof-of-concept trial in collaboration technology partner Microsoft and testing base KPMG’s Digital Village in Singapore.
The endeavor is a notable endorsement of blockchain technology by one of the world’s most popular and highly-rated airline operators – also Singapore’s national airline – in a country that commonly serves as a major transit hub in Asia.
Laying claim to launching the ‘world’s first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet’, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong stated:
“This groundbreaking development in which we will be using blockchain technology to ‘digitalise’ KrisFlyer miles is a demonstration of the investment we are making to significantly enhance the digital side of our business for the benefit of our customers.”
The application is expected to roll out for customers in about six months. Singapore Airlines is currently roping in retail merchant partners, initially in Singapore, for its blockchain wallet air miles program.
Singapore Airlines’ initiative to foray into the blockchain space joins a number of other airlines and airports in the aviation industry to embrace cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Last month, Brisbane international airport began accepting cryptocurrencies like bitcoin at retail stores within its terminals. A Polish airline began accepting bitcoin as early as mid-2015 while Peach Aviation became Japan’s first airline to accept the cryptocurrency last year.
In other use cases, Russian airline S7 began using the Ethereum blockchain to sell flight tickets last year whereas Air New Zealand confirmed its research into using the public Ethereum blockchain for “a number of potential use cases.” French insurance giant AXA also began using Ethereum’s public blockchain to automate compensation for air travelers as a part of its flight delay insurance offering.
Elsewhere, German airline giant Lufthansa invested in a Swiss blockchain startup through an ICO last year, revealing its intent to plug in to a B2B blockchain marketplace, also based on a public Ethereum blockchain.