Air France-KLM is taking its customers’ interest to heart and seeking for a means to reduce cost. This time, the world’s fifth largest airline has partnered with blockchain-based travel booking firm Winding Tree as part of its effort to explore ways the blockchain could aid in cutting out the middle men and cutting down customers’ costs.
In a statement, Air France-KLM said it is looking for ways to provide “a more advantageous travel offer for customers”; however, it did not reveal the specifics of the partnership.
Sonia Barrière, EVP for strategy and innovation at Air France-KLM, explained that the company is making a move to integrate its services with blockchain technology to provide a more personalized—not to mention better—customer experience. She noted, “With blockchain technology, we aim to revolutionize exchanges within the travel industry for our customers, companies and startups.”
Air France-KLM is taking a cue from German flag carrier, Lufthansa, which has been in partnership with Winding Tree since 2017. Early this year, Lufthansa launched the “Aviation Blockchain Challenge” in partnership with the software giant SAP.This created an avenue for applicants to pitch ideas on how the blockchain can improve travel experience and operations. Aside from Lufthansa, other airlines in contract with Winding Tree include Air New Zealand, Swiss Air, Austria and Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings.
Iris Taguet, Air France-KLM’s head of blockchain program, explained that the airline had been experimenting with integrating its services with the blockchain since 2017. Taguet outlined that Air France-KLM is not just working in house, but also exploring external blockchain technology partners to experiment at the proof-of-concept level. The European airline is also working on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things.
Barrière revealed that Air France-KLM is dedicated to startups and will support the developments of Winding Tree’s B2B platform through testing and giving feedback on the technology. Pedro Anderson, co-founder and CEO of Winding Tree, listed some of the proposed hackathons that Air France-KLM and other partners will be testing, noting, “We’re not building ‘copycat’ solutions for each and every airline. Instead, we’re creating one open source solution on which everyone is working together.”
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