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Blockchain Is Priority Technology For Research Among Airlines, Airports

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Blockchain is fast emerging as the priority technology for future exploration among airport and airline companies, attracting the most research attention this year, a new study says.

SITA, a Geneva-based company providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry, released the "2018 Air Transport IT Insights" Monday.

Considered as the global benchmark research for the air transport industry, the report shows that blockchain offers multiple use cases ranging from passenger identification to ticketing, asset tracking and managing frequent fliers programs.

The blockchain technology has the potential to clear significant speed bumps in the way of airlines, airports, ground handlers and control authorities, according to Gustavo Pina, Director of SITA Lab.

Today, 59 percent of airlines have pilot or research programs planned around blockchain for implementation by 2021, which is up from 42 percent last year, the research says.

The most commonly expected use of blockchain for both airlines and airports is to streamline the passenger identification process.

To help drive the exploration of blockchain, SITA in June launched "The Aviation Blockchain Sandbox", a major industry research project to explore the potential of blockchain. SITA is investing in the infrastructure to accelerate industry-specific research into the viability of running multi-enterprise apps using distributed ledger technology.

British Airways and Heathrow, Geneva, and Miami international airports have formed a "FlightChain", which will allow airlines and airports to solve the issue of flight status data quality. The FlightChain smart contract stores flight information on the blockchain to provide a "single source of truth".

For the second stage of this collaborative innovation, SITA will work with organizations that wish to test smart contracts across a number of airline and airport operational use cases. Later, it will enable participants to run their own node of the blockchain sandbox.

More than 180 senior IT executives at world's top airlines and airports took part in the 2018 research.

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