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United Arab Emirate’s national airline has teamed up with a Switzerland-based blockchain startup to provide its internal information systems.
Winding Tree, a decentralized business-to-business marketplace built on ethereum, will provide logistical support for Etihad Airways’ distribution system, according to a Reuters report on Thursday.
The move will allow the airline to bypass third-party operators that currently manage its inventories – such as flight times, travel itineraries, and baggage tracking. Tristan Thomas, Etihad’s director of digital and innovation, told Reuters these third parties often provide an overpriced service.
Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree’s chief operating officer, redoubled that claim and told Reuters:
“We have been doing experiments and new solutions on the platform. Ultimately, that benefits the consumer. When there’s innovation, you start to have disruption, you have competition which results in better prices for the consumer.”
“Very few have chosen to disrupt the distribution world and that’s because those are major players with very significant margins that have acted to keep that kind of a closed shop,” said Thomas
In fact, Winding Tree provides real-time information systems for a number of airlines, hotels, and tourism offices around the world.
In 2017, the firm partnered with Lufthansa to develop a blockchain-based travel marketplace powered by a cryptographic token. Months later, Russian airline S7 revealed it was using the distributed ledger to issue air tickets. AirFrance also combined its APIs to oversee its airline management systems.
With its wide birth and ability to manage a vast array of data, Winding Tree counts not only global distribution systems run by entrenched firms like Amadeus and Sabre, but also consumer facing websites like Expedia and Booking.com as competitors.
Etihad Airways photo via Flickr