Hong Kong flag carrier and airline giant Cathay Pacific joins a growing list of airline operators exploring applications of blockchain technology.
In launching its first application of blockchain technology, the Cathay Pacific Group will issue air miles to customers over a single distributed ledger that will enable customers, the airlines’ partners and the airline manage member rewards in real-time.
Cathay Pacific’s blockchain rollout will first power a new mobile application and platform, developed by technology partner Accenture, dubbed ‘Unlock More Miles’. The marketing campaign ties in with a dining promotion in Hong Kong wherein members of ‘Asia Miles’ – Cathay Pacific’s rewards program – see air miles credited to their accounts within a day of earning them.
The blockchain platform will automate data fulfillment procedures and enable a transparent transaction history between the airline and participating dining partners by sharing the data set, an announcement from the airline explained.
‘The beauty of this initiative is that it helps improve business efficiency minimizing back-office administration,’ it said, adding:
‘By harnessing blockchain technology, the Cathay Pacific Group and Asia Miles are providing Asia Miles partners a single data source when managing account activity. This allows Asia Miles, partners and members a near real-time ability to manage rewards.’
Cathay Pacific’s marked effort to implement blockchain technology comes in the heels of chief rival Singapore Airlines announcing its own blockchain-based loyalty wallet application earlier this year. Developed in partnership with technology partner Microsoft, the private blockchain proved successful during a proof-of-concept trial wherein members of the airline’s frequent-flyer program spent their air miles at participating retail merchants as a point-of-sale transaction.
Fellow southeast Asian airline Air Asia has announced that it will migrate its rewards program to a new cryptocurrency called “BigCoin.” The firm is also mulling holding an ICO to fund the development of a new financial services division.
Elsewhere, German airline giant Lufthansa pointedly announced its investment in a Swiss blockchain startup – through an ICO – after revealing plans to launch a B2B blockchain marketplace powered on a public Ethereum blockchain.