NEW YORK: German airline Hahn Air, which offers scheduled and charter flights within Europe, announced on Monday it has issued the first airline tickets enabled by blockchain technology, in partnership with Winding Tree, an open-source travel distribution platform.
Blockchain, which first emerged as the system powering bitcoin, is a shared database maintained by a network of computers.
Hahn Air on Monday flew passengers holding blockchain-powered tickets on its scheduled flight from Dusseldorf to Luxembourg. The first blockchain passengers are Maksim Izmaylov, Founder of Winding Tree; Dave Montali, chief information officer of Winding Tree; and Frederick Nowotny, Head of Sales Engineering at Hahn Air.
"For us, it is important to look into the future to understand how can we make distribution faster," Jörg Troester, Hahn Air's head of corporate strategy and government & industry affairs, told Reuters in a phone interview.
He added that after the flight, the airline will analyze the details of how things worked for the first blockchain ticket and look into ways on how to commercialize it.
"We are not at that point right now," Troester said.
Aside from being an airline, Hahn Air is also a distribution solution for travel agents.
Using the Winding Tree platform, Hahn Air is able to list inventory, manage the reservation requests, and receive payments once the booking process is complete. As a mode of payment, the airline accepts cash, credit card, or cryptocurrency, either the lif token or ether.
"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," Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree's chief operating officer and co-founder, told Reuters.
Winding Tree is a blockchain-based, decentralized, open-source travel distribution platform. It has established partnerships with airlines and service companies such as Air Canada, Air France-KLM, Hahn Air, Lufthansa, and Swissport.
It has also partnered with major hotels like Nordic Choice Hotels, citizenM Hotel chain, and Airport Hotel Basel.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss)