Why Improving Aviation Efficiency Relies On Blockchain Technology

With blockchain technology still a relatively new kid on the block in the mainstream, its utilization in aviation systems is still in its infancy. Nonetheless, several processes are already deploying blockchain systems well. Altogether, the tech’s distinct ability to share information instantly and securely between relevant stakeholders, whether they are carriers, passengers, or manufacturers, gives endless opportunities for blockchain. Thus, we can expect its usage to catalyze in 2022.

Boeing 737 silhouette
Blockchain is effectively a growing list of records (blocks) that are linked together using cryptography – the data in each block can’t be changed retroactively unless all the subsequent blocks are adapted – providing far more secure procedures. Photo: Getty Images

Keeping record

One particular sector that will benefit significantly from blockchain is the supply chain. For instance, the market spends $50 billion on spare aircraft parts. However, airlines, suppliers, and lessors waste so much time in the manual tracking and tracing of the equipment. So, the introduction of blockchain will do wonders to efficiently record transactions between all those involved. Overall, time and funds are saved with a refined approach.

Additionally, with a clear record of numerous transactions on display, inconsistencies can be identified, which will lead to operational improvements. Subsequently, further mishaps can be addressed in the long term.

SITA Cargo
The tracking of unit load devices (ULDs) through blockchain can save up to $400 million. Photo: SITA

Getting the ball rolling

With these benefits in mind, SITA, the IT provider for the air transport industry, has implemented innovations for the next chapter of aviation. The organization is tackling challenges on both the airline and passenger sides. With a plethora of new requirements arising across the industry, blockchain will prove vital in the mission to robustly record and present information.

“For pilots, SITA has developed a proven blockchain-based solution enabling the verification of an electronic personnel license (EPL) without network connectivity. Allowing offline verification in an efficient and privacy-preserving way, SITA’s contribution supports the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) adoption of an industry-wide digital standard for the use of EPLs on international flights,” SITA shares in a statement sent to Simple Flying.

“On the passenger side, blockchain could solve many of the efficiency challenges the industry faces today. In 2021 SITA, together with Indicio.tech and the Aruba Health Department, trialed the Aruba Health App, a pilot that makes it easy for visitors to share a trusted traveler credential – based on their health status – privately and securely on their mobile device. This credential will provide access to participating hospitality sites on the island.”

SITA highlights that centralized databases with sensitive details are proven to be vulnerable to breaches and errors. Moreover, a central data management system is not so suitable to the requirements of the complicated network of civil aviation authorities, involving different governments. Therefore, a blockchain-based solution that eliminates the demand for a centralized database is a must in the ever-changing aviation industry landscape.

Aruba SITA
Visitors to the likes of Aruba have been able to prove their health status reliably with the SITA-backed health app.  Photo: SITA

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Covering all angles

Blockchain is also showing its worth in other aviation departments, such as refueling. Digital refueling is making it far more straightforward and safer to fuel aircraft, again cutting costs for carriers.

The likes of Gazpromnet have broken ground by using blockchain for digital contracts in the refueling process. This system does away with paper fiddling in favor of using a tablet to complete a transaction and recording the details via blockchain. As a result, the transfer of money is conducted far more efficiently while sustainability targets are considered.

Again, on the ground, airports are starting to turn to blockchain-related processes. For instance, Venezuela’s Caracas International Airport is starting to receive cryptocurrency as a form of payment. With there being several unpredictable and sensitive economies around the world, this revolution will undoubtedly help many passenger segments to hit the skies in challenging times.

Ultimately, during this period of transition within the aviation industry, every penny counts. So, we can expect more and more suppliers, manufacturers, airlines, and airports to turn to blockchain to drive efficiency this decade.

What are your thoughts about blockchain’s utilization in 2022? What do you make of the technology’s prospects? Let us know what you think in the comment section.