Air Canada recently followed Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, and others to partner with blockchain startup Winding Tree and join its blockchain-based air travel marketplace. Air Canada is set to join a decentralized, open-source platform, for travel agents to make more direct travel arrangements for their clients.
The new travel distribution platform will give travel agents a more direct “entry point to suppliers inventory.” This may make it easier and cheaper for agents to arrange air travel for their clients and access the full range of availability from air carriers like Air Canada.
A blockchain-based travel distribution platform
Winding Tree is creating an open blockchain-based marketplace where travel agents can arrange flights and access ancillary products while also setting their own commission rates.
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Travel agents will also be able to offer more personalized services to end-customers who securely share their travel history on the platform. Access to previous travel arrangements will enable agents to tailor suitable services based on client’s past preferences.
For suppliers like Air Canada, the Winding Tree platform will remove other intermediaries, allow for immediate settlement of payments via smart contract technology, and give them complete control over product inventory.
Winding Tree’s platform, according to Air Canada’s press release, encourages new market entrants and further innovation in the distribution and sale of air travel products. It allows for greater competition in the market for air travel.
“As Canada’s largest airline, and a global leader in innovative airline distribution solutions, Air Canada recognizes the importance of leveraging this next generation technology,” said Keith Wallis, Director of Global Product Distribution for Air Canada.
Air Canada currently uses a software-based distribution channel and API called Direct Connect last updated in 2011. This will be integrated with Winding Tree’s blockchain product “giving blockchain-savvy users the ability to access our content directly from the source,” said Wallis.
Payment transactions on the Winding Tree platform will be conducted in its native token, or cryptocurrency, Lif. Though Air Canada does not confirm if it will also be using Lif to receive payments as flights are eventually arranged on the platform.
Could you be booking your next flight using blockchain?
Air Canada will be the first North American airline to work with the Winding Tree public blockchain platform.
By doing so, Winding Tree says that Air Canada “is showing itself to be a real leader in innovation,” said Pedro Anderson, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Winding Tree.
According to the Winding Tree roadmap, it is currently working on smart contract development for its airline services. It plans to launch its own mainnet, or blockchain in Q4 2018 and in 2019 will be focused on “integrating the airline industry” in the Winding Tree network.
On this basis, Canadians could be booking flights, via agents, using blockchain technology in the next 12-18 months.
Image credit: Air Canada
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