In Brief
Blockchain is taking flight. Airline companies are beginning to see the value of this revolutionary digital ledger, and Air France KLM wants to be at the forefront of the disruption by employing blockchain to track its maintenance and repair systems.

Blockchain Takes Flight

Aircraft maintenance is, obviously, a crucial part of any airline business. Keeping tabs with replacement parts on in-service planes is necessary to avoid serious complications in flight. Which is why Air France KLM is putting a premium on its ability to keep their airplanes in tip-top shape, and they’ve decided to employ blockchain technology to do so.

The Entire History of Bitcoin in a Single Infographic
Click to View Full Infographic

Speaking in a webinar together with Microsoft and software for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) systems provider Ramco Aviation, Air France talked about the benefits of relying on digital currency technology. James Kornberg, Air France KLM business unit director of innovation, said that he is working with his team to come up with a clear business case for blockchain use in improving maintenance processes and work flows. “The use case has to be realistic,” he said, Aviation Today reports. “The four features of blockchain are resilience, traceability, integrity and disintermediation are well suited to the aviation supply chain.”

Expanded Value

Blockchain, the innovative technology that powers cryptocurrencies, isn’t just useful for financial transactions. Already, this decentralized digital ledger have found use in storing medical data, in managing power grids, as a potentially new internet, and even in how we distribute aid. Now, airline companies are taking the technology by the wings.

Kornberg pointed out, however, that airline data has to completely transition to digital first before they can fully take advantage of what blockchain has to offer. “In the aviation industry, we still have a lot of our data that is not digitalized, still a lot of analog data, the first step, and that’s what we’re doing at the moment,” he added.

Apart from Air France’s idea of using it to keep track of maintenance needs, blockchain has the capacity to transform the entire commercial airline transportation industry. “The characteristics of the airline industry—and also the broader travel industry—align very well with the capabilities of the blockchain,” an Accenture write-up notes. The key is in how blockchain handles data. Airline companies can employ blockchain to improve ticketing services by using smart-contracts, managing loyalty points, as well as in keeping passenger information and data more secure.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.