Singapore Airlines Plans to Launch Blockchain-Based Wallet for Frequent Flyers

Singapore Airlines (SIA) targets to launch a digital wallet for the members of its loyalty programme, KrisFlyer, in the next six months. The airline will use blockchain technology for the endeavour.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be using blockchain technology so that its frequent flyers will have a new way to spend their accumulated miles. The carrier will thus be transforming its airline loyalty programme into a digital wallet, the company said on Monday. 

The programme, which is called KrisFlyer, will allow members to use digital KrisFlyer miles for transactions made during the sale at participating retail merchants, through an app with the same name.

The airline has carried out a similar exercise with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft until now and will continue to sign up retail merchant partners in Singapore.

The wallet is designed to be active in six months.

Investing to enhance the digital side

“I think we are the first airline to do it,” Chief Executive Goh Choon Phong said at the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit, a gathering of aviation leaders on the eve of Asia’s largest air show.

“It is in line with our recently unveiled Digital Innovation Blueprint, under which we aim to be the world’s leading digital airline.”

“This groundbreaking development in which we will be using blockchain technology to ‘digitalise’ KrisFlyer miles is a demonstration of the investment we are making to significantly enhance the digital side of our business for the benefit of our customers,” Goh Choon Phong, also said in an official press statement.

“It is in line with our recently unveiled Digital Innovation Blueprint, under which we aim to be the world’s leading digital airline.”

The carrier’s Digital Innovation Blueprint roadmap encompasses the development of technology solutions which is designed to help SIA keep up with its aircraft maintenance and customer service in a more efficient way, as well as reduce aircraft delays, the company has said.

SIA established the Digital Innovation Lab and partnered with local research agencies such as A*Star for this project.

Air France, Lufthansa looking into blockchain tech

Other significant airline carriers such as Air France and Russian airline S7 are also known to be exploring blockchain technology to improve their services. The German airline group Lufthansa and Air New Zealand in 2017 started working with Winding Tree, a Switzerland-based start-up, to build blockchain-based travel applications.

The companies are said to want to explore new ways of providing tickets and services to customers. Hannover-based travel group TUI has also started its own blockchain-based inventory system for hotel bookings.

On the other hand, Japanese low-cost carrier Peach Aviation has also begun accepting payments using Bitcoin in May 2017

SIA plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in digital technology in the next few years to remain competitive against global rivals, it has previously stated.

Blockchain

EU Opens Blockchain Observatory, Looking to Invest up to €340 Million

Blockchain is designed to work as a digital register or online record-keeping system, maintained by an indiscriminate group of peers as compared to any central authority or figure.

Blockchain can hold promises for changing the way transactions are handled in many industries, according to experts. However, at the moment it is best known for underpinning bitcoin and other alternative currencies.

Singapore Airlines’ technology is its own private blockchain and involves only merchants and partners, the company also said.