Swissport Explores Blockchain Potential for Airport Services

THE POINT IS -

  • Blockchain starts to infiltrate areas which overlap between industry verticals - here supply chain and travel services.
  • Large, established industry players are the only ones who can make this synergy happen.
  • With only letters-of-intent signed, the road to actual implementation is long.
  • More "dabbling-the-toe" experiments like this will continue as industries seek the public boost of "using blockchain."

Airport ground services and cargo handler Swissport International is working with blockchain startups Winding Tree and Olam to explore how the technology can be applied to its business, both in service distribution and logistics.

According to a press release Wednesday, letters of intent have been signed with the two companies. With Winding Tree, which is a blockchain-based travel distribution platform, the intention is to see how Swissport’s travel services and new offers can be distributed, with any provider able to tap into its inventory.

The company said that while the focus will initially be on distributing classic ancillary travel services to independent travelers, like airport lounge access, it expects to use blockchain to efficiently distribute additional services to individuals and corporate clients in the longer term. Winding Tree has a number of travel industry partners on the airline and hotel side, but Swissport will be the platform’s launch partner for ancillary ground travel services.

“Blockchain allows us to reimagine how we work with our partners in the complex aviation and logistics ecosystem,” says Florian Eggenschwiler, Head of Swissport’s innovation unit. “We expect to see lasting benefits from this technology for fragmented global industries like aviation services and supply chain. It will likely change how service providers, clients and partners will transact with each other. We want to get familiar with such technologies early in the innovation cycle and partner with technology leaders to explore its potential in our business for a variety of use cases.

In respect of its cargo handling business, where tracking and documentation are important, Swissport said it will start a pilot phase with Olam, a non-profit foundation, dedicated to developing an open-source platform for supply chain partners. This platform is intended to allow partners to collaborate in a decentralized, but secure and trust-enabled environment.

“Thinking beyond traditional messaging, blockchain could eventually become the new standard allowing us to overcome the chronic lack of transparency, which is typical for fragmented supply chains,” said Hendrik Leyssens, Head of Global Cargo Operations. “Blockchain could speed up transactions, enhance transaction security and at the same time unlock cost savings.”


This article originally appeared on The Blockchain.

Ian Simpson