Today, most of the information critical to keeping an aircraft flying is collected manually, a time-consuming and expensive process. Data indicating the history and status of an aircraft is spread across up to 40 systems, in the hands of multiple parties who may be competitors reluctant to share data.
While blockchain is revolutionizing usage and creating new opportunities across all sectors, what about for players in the aviation industry?
Blockchain is a promising and emerging technology with immense potential particularly in high-tech industries with high security requirements. Its characteristics and operation guarantee absolute confidence and security.
Its modernity guarantees us a sense of absolute trust and security. To characterize this high security technology, we can list the following criteria:
In terms of availability, the blockchain is stored on several nodes, the failure of a node does not compromise the operation of the network
It also has an integrated system that validates blocks using cryptographic algorithms that make it impossible to modify a transaction after the fact.
Moreover, the confidentiality of the blockchain is one of its main advantages. The data recorded on the blockchain can be encrypted and the confidentiality of exchanges between actors can be totally guaranteed in the case of a private blockchain.
From a traceability point of view, the blockchain is a register that centralizes the history of transactions made and not made. It provides a high level of transparency to its users, while facilitating the traceability of exchanges (end-to-end traceability).
Its efficiency facilitates exchanges and speeds up processing times. The blockchain creates a direct exchange space between its users, which facilitates real-time interactions and speeds up processing times. In some cases, it also makes it possible to free oneself from intermediaries.
For example, bitcoin, a virtual currency exchanged on a peer-to-peer basis (new transactional models). Finally, the blockchain facilitates the automation of certain processes. Smart contacts”, which are contracts programmed to automatically carry out an action, can be registered on the blockchain.
Their use makes it possible to do away with any human intervention for the execution of a specific action.
Thus it automates actions by reducing the risk of human error.
The advantages of blockchain explain the strong potential that companies in aeronautics industry are showing.
The air transport sector is just as enthusiastic about it and many use cases have been imagined and some tests have already been launched.
Aviation blockchain is a digital solution for recording and updating transactions related to aviation assets to ensure advanced safety and security of airline operations. Aviation blockchain includes the various functions of blockchain :
– Record keeping
For example, cargo and baggage tracking, passenger identity management, flight and crew data are the main application areas of aviation blockchain technology.
The secure, sustainable and decentralized features of blockchain can help aerospace companies reduce maintenance costs, increase aircraft availability and minimize errors in tracking aircraft parts.
Blockchain would be an added value for aerospace players. These companies will therefore intensify their efforts in applications for new transactional models.
Blockchain could help to guarantee the legitimacy of the parts produced and to meet the necessary airworthiness requirements.
In addition, it can also provide a permanent record of each part of an aircraft, as well as its usage history by personnel.
As an example, the Enspan blockchain application, formerly known as Parts Pedigree, is working on developing, which could offer a much more efficient approach to documenting the life cycle of an asset.
With this, airlines will eventually be able to sell and buy parts with the confidence that the documentation is accurate and complies with all maintenance regulations.
Key players in the global aviation blockchain market include:
– Aeron Laboratories
– International Business Machine Corporation
– Infosys Limited
– Moog Inc.
– Safeflights Inc.
– Sweetbridge Inc.
– Blockchain for loyalty programs
At the heart of the concept : the accumulation of miles as you travel, which can then be exchanged for tickets or discounts on the airline’s flights, or with its partners (hotels, car rentals, etc.). Today, however, these programs are of less and less interest to consumers, as they are considered too restrictive and not advantageous enough: 80% of members have never saved enough miles to be able to use them, and 9.7 billion miles are not used each year.
Thus, new initiatives are developing, aiming to take advantage of the opportunities offered by blockchain : this is the case of Air Asia with its Bitcoin program, Cathay Pacific with Asia Miles, or Singapore Airlines with KrisFlyer. Loyalty points are transformed into virtual currency and become an alternative means of payment, accepted between members of the blockchain.
– Improving the reliability of traveler information
Passenger information (delays, door changes, etc.) is one of the main criteria for customer satisfaction. In this context, the ability to deliver reliable, consistent information regardless of the communication channel, and with sufficient anticipation, is a challenge for all the players in the value chain involved in passenger transport from the airport of origin to the airport of destination.
However, these actors currently keep their data in silos, and as a result the information delivered to the traveler can be different depending on the communication channel: SMS from the company, display on screens at the airport, real-time airport information sites etc… Thus, in 2017, SITA (Société Internationale du Transport Aérien) launched an experiment named SITA FlightChain which aims to test the benefits of blockchain for the consistency of traveler information. Eventually more than two million flights that could be processed via SITA Flightchain and its smarts contracts.
The future of blockchain in aviation looks promising in supply chain collaboration. It is primarily used by airport authorities, MRO organizations, and aviation solution providers to ensure digitally-based aviation-related transactions are kept up-to-date.
While the technology offers a way to track and provide consistent aircraft configuration data throughout the supply chain, this is not yet the case today. Most aircraft manufacturers, maintenance providers and airlines track configuration data in their own systems and rarely, if ever, integrate this information with that of other companies. So, in the long run, using blockchain to connect the many ends of the supply chain could be revolutionary.
In addition, the growing adoption of air travel and AI-based smart technology are creating significant demand for aviation blockchain in the near future.
East Asia is the leading consumer of aviation blockchain in the global market and is expected to maintain its dominance by the end of the forecast period.
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