Hahn Air, a German airline offering scheduled and chartered flights throughout Europe, has become the first airline to issue tickets using blockchain technology.
According to the company’s official press release published on Monday, the milestone achievement is the result of its partnership with open-source travel distribution platform Winding Tree.
The Head of Sales Engineering at Hahn Air, Frederick Nowotny, noted that the company’s goal is to “investigate and monitor the opportunities this technology holds for travel distribution, even if widespread acceptance is still a vision of the future.”
Speaking about the partnership with Winding Tree, Nowotny said: “We at Hahn Air are constantly exploring new technologies and we are proud to now demonstrate our technical capability to issue blockchain-powered Hahn Air tickets.”
“We are pleased to be partnering with Winding Tree, the most established company when it comes to distributing travel inventory in the blockchain.
A day of ‘firsts’ for Hahn Air
Not only is Hahn Air the first airline to issue tickets on the blockchain, but they are also the first to fly passengers holding such tickets.
Flying from Dusseldorf to Luxembourg on Monday, the airline’s first “blockchain passengers” were Nowotny and Winding Tree’s Founder and CIO, Maksim Izmaylov and Davide Montali.
Through its partnership with Winding Tree, Hahn Air is able to leverage blockchain technology to list inventory, manage reservation requests, and receive payments.
Winding Tree is a decentralized, open-source travel distribution platform with an aim to bring innovation to the travel industry.
Customers using the platform can pay for their tickets using cash, credit card, or cryptocurrency, though currently only Ethereum (ETH) and Winding Tree’s LIF token are the only ones accepted.
Izmaylov was optimistic about the “endless applications” of the blockchain technology.
“While blockchain technology is currently almost exclusively associated with the cryptocurrency bitcoin it bears great potential for all industries and endless applications. It will have an enormous impact on all areas of economy and commerce over the next decades,” he said.
“We at Winding Tree believe that blockchain will have the power, like NDC, to fundamentally change the face of travel distribution. With a broad knowledge, an innovative mindset and an unparalleled network, Hahn Air is the ideal partner for us.”
In addition to airline ticket bookings, Winding Tree is also using blockchain technology to process hotel bookings.
“One of the things that we are working on our side is the challenge that comes up when you create an open marketplace – how to ensure that anybody who gets access, whatever you’re selling or buying, that the business on the other side is of good standing,” said Winding Tree’s COO and co-founder, Pedro Anderson.
In May, the open-source travel distribution platform announced that it had become the first to process a hotel booking on a public blockchain.
Travel industry exploring blockchain
The Hahn Air / Winding Tree partnership is just one of several blockchain developments within the travel industry.
Earlier this month, Utrust, the Swiss-based digital payments processor announced a partnership with Alternative Airlines, enabling ticket booking with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), DigiByte (DGB), DASH, and Utrust’s UTK.
The partnership will also give passengers the benefits of instant cross border transactions, crypto-to-cash settlements, and buyer protection.
In October, Bitstop installed a Bitcoin ATM at the Miami International Airport, making it easy for passengers to exchange their dollars for Bitcoin and vice versa or buy tickets with Bitcoin.
Exploring blockchain, Travelport partnered with IBM and BCD Travel, a travel management company, to manage the hotel commission process with the technology.