Singapore Airlines To Launch Blockchain-Based Loyalty Digital Walletby Fintechnews Singapore February 7, 2018
KrisFlyer, the frequent flyer and airport lounge programs of Singapore Airlines, is set to launch a new digital wallet app powered by blockchain technology.
The digital wallet, which is expected to be rolled out in about six months, will allow KrisFlyer’s membership base to use “digital KrisFlyer miles” for point-of-sale transactions at participating retail merchants.
Singapore Airlines ran a successful proof-of-concept carried out in collaboration with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft. The company said the new service will be using a private blockchain owned by Singapore Airlines.
KrisFlyer will now be signing up retail merchant partners, initially in the Singaporean market.
Commenting on the announcement, Singapore Airlines CEO, Goh Choon Phong, said:
“Innovation has been a key contributor to the success of Singapore Airlines since Day 1 and we are very excited about this world-first initiative, which will bring even more benefits to members of our KrisFlyer program.
“This groundbreaking development in which we will be using blockchain technology to ‘digitalize’ 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.”
The move is in line with Singapore Airlines’ recently unveiled Digital Innovation Blueprint, under which the company aims to become the world’s leading digital airline.
Fintechnews asked Jan Reinmueller, Head of KPMG Digital Village, why loyality programs are placed on a blockchain:
“Leveraging the distributed nature of blockchain, a loyalty digital wallet enables the effective administration of a loyalty ecosystem while reducing complexity and costs typically associated with manual processes, reconciliation and system integration. For customers, these advantages translate to frictionless experience and increased redemption options across participating programme partners.”
Last week, Singapore Airlines unveiled partnerships with the National University of Singapore (NUS), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Economic Development Board (EDB) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) as part of its digital push.
Singapore Airlines joins other airline and airport operators that have adopted blockchain technology to enhance operations.
Australia’s Brisbane airport is rolling out cryptocurrency payments across several terminal shopping and dining facilities. US airline Surf Air has unveiled plans to support Bitcoin and Ethereum payments for its monthly membership and charter services. Russia’s biggest airline S7 is reportedly exploring blockchain technology for the issuing of flight tickets. European travel group TUI has been using blockchain to track internal contracts.
Last year, German airline group Lufthansa and Air New Zealand teamed up with Switzerland-based startup Winding Tree to explore applications based on blockchain technology.
The news comes on the heels of the new partnership formed between beverage brand Lattesso and blockchain-based loyalty ecosystem qiibee. Lattesso will be using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to power its loyalty program throughout Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the Benelux and Russia.
Featured image via Singapore Airlines.