The airline industry is still reeling from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the global economy and restricted travel.
Ethereum-based decentralized travel marketplace Winding Tree has announced a new collaboration with American Airlines that will allow select travelers to receive tailored booking options, opening up a potential new use case for blockchain technology.
Through the collaboration, American’s largest corporate travel buyers will have access to Winding Tree’s marketplace to book travel directly and receive “uniquely tailored and cost-efficient travel options,” the companies announced. Neil Geurin, who serves as American Airlines’ managing director of digital and distribution, said Winding Tree “provides a frictionless approach” to accessing travel accommodation.
Winding Tree said its marketplace accommodates all sorts of peer-to-peer connections for the travel and aviation industry. In addition to American Airlines, the marketplace has already secured a partnership with Air Canada, one of North America’s largest carriers.
American is the largest passenger airline in North America, having served over 95.3 million passengers in 2020. Passenger traffic peaked near 215.2 million in 2019 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. In October, American announced a third-quarter net profit of $169 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, on revenue of $9 billion. Revenue rose 20% from the previous quarter.
#COVID19: we estimate that aviation industry passenger revenues could drop $252 billion or 44% below 2019’s figure.
— IATA (@IATA) March 24, 2020
Airlines were ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic as governments locked down their economies and restricted both domestic and international travel. According to Airports Council International, the impact of the pandemic removed more than 1 billion passengers in 2020. Winding Tree co-founder Pedro Anderson said the pandemic created a “complete paradigm shift in travel” that has placed a premium on innovation.
In 2020, air transport technology provider Sita estimated that 59% of airlines were already piloting or researching blockchain technology solutions for their internal processes. As far back as 2018, it was estimated that 86% of aerospace and defense companies were planning to implement blockchain in the foreseeable future, according to Accenture.