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From Emirates Airlines News to the Bigger Picture of “Blockchain for Aviation”

News

In April 2022, Emirates Airlines, one of the world’s largest airlines, introduced its plan backed with spending tens of millions of dollars on a strategy to extend its services to the metaverse and to develop collectible and utility-based NFTs.1

Recently, the Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) of Emirates, Adel Ahmed Al-Redha, has revealed that they are considering accepting Bitcoin (“BTC”) as payment at a media gathering at the Arabian Travel Market. In this piece, we’ll tune in current and possible reflections of blockchain technologies in the aviation industry.2

What has happened? – Emirates Airlines Declare that Blockchain Technologies Are on Their Agenda on Many Levels, Including Payments, Trading, and Tracing

Last week, quite a few news appeared on multiple channels regarding the COO’s declarations on the acceptance of BTC as payment; however, Emirates has clarified the situation by explaining that they are only “exploring the BTC as an alternative payment option for future use.” 

On the other hand, Emirates Airlines’s crypto strategy seems not to be limited to accepting or exploring crypto payments, but its strategy also involves:

1) Developing collectible and utility-based NFTs, 

2) Trading those NFTs on their websites, and

3) Investing in systems that enable tracking the flights and tracing the aircrafts.3

COO Al-Redha aims to monitor customer needs more efficiently with the inclusion of such technologies in their operations. For this strategy, Emirates plans to recruit new employees who will focus on implementing and managing crypto payments, blockchain tracking, metaverse, and NFT projects.4

What Can be Delivered by Blockchain for Aviation? 

Although this Emirates news does not directly affect the practical adoption of blockchain in aviation, it does provide a proper basis for analyzing the current and potential interactions of blockchain in the aviation industry.

Aviation is one of the industries that has endured hard times financially due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Blockchain technologies are researched as one of the ways out from the damage of the pandemic.

Research suggests that blockchain technologies can be employed in various levels of operations in the aviation industry, from maintenance management to identity management, from frequent flyer programs to supply chain management and payment methods.5

Parallel to that, the blockchain technologies that are being used or planned to be used by airline companies in several aviation-related projects will be listed herein:

  1. First of all, Latvian airline airBaltic has accepted BTC as payment since 2014, and the company is now accepting Ether (“ETH”) and Dogecoin (“DOGE”) since March 2021.6
  1. It is known that El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has reported that another airline called Volaris is also considering accepting BTC as a service payment, although the plan has not been implemented.7
  1. Air France has deployed blockchain technologies to create a COVID-19 test verification system.8
  1. Also, it’s known that Lufthansa Industry Solutions are working on an initiative called “Blockchain for Aviation” (“BC4A”).9 The initiative aims to gather various experts on a platform to utilize the blockchain to enhance the communications among manufacturers, airlines, and the maintenance, repair, and overhaul service providers in order to develop more efficient solutions for the aviation industry.10
  1. In addition to that, it is reported British Airways has invested in a company called Zamna, a company that is using facial recognition with blockchain technology.11
  1. Finally, it is also known that Singapore Airlines benefits from blockchain technology for its loyalty program to enable its customers to enjoy flight promotions.12

Airlines do not seem alone in deploying blockchain technologies in the aviation industry. For example, the Venezuelan International Airport considers accepting BTC payments as well.13 The participation of several actors operating in the aviation industry can be evaluated as a plus for the broader adoption of blockchain technologies by the parties concerned in the industry.

What’s next?

Although the utilization of blockchain technologies in aviation industry is not a new concept, such a move by one of the leading airlines in the market may be evaluated as a step forward, considering that C-level executives and managers are often reluctant to adopt a technology they do not understand.14  

However, it should be duly noted that there are several levels of operations in which the blockchain technologies can be included, and the positive effects of crypto-friendly strategies on the crypto industry are most likely to be observed with the actual implementation of these strategies.


  1. Hernandez, Ornella: Emirates Airline to Accept Bitcoin Payments and Launch NFT Collection; May 13, 2022; accessed via https://blockworks.co/emirates-airline-to-accept-bitcoin-payments-and-launch-nft-collection/ May 16, 2022.2
  2.  Hernandez, Ornella: Emirates Airline to Accept Bitcoin Payments and Launch NFT Collection; May 13, 2022; accessed via https://blockworks.co/emirates-airline-to-accept-bitcoin-payments-and-launch-nft-collection/ May 16, 2022.3
  3. Reguerra, Ezra: Bitcoin to the sky: Emirates to accept BTC payments and launch NFT collectibles, May, 13, 2022; accessed via  https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-to-the-sky-emirates-to-accept-btc-payments-and-launch-nft-collectibles on May 16, 2022.4
  4. Hernandez, Ornella: Emirates Airline to Accept Bitcoin Payments and Launch NFT Collection; May 13, 2022; accessed via https://blockworks.co/emirates-airline-to-accept-bitcoin-payments-and-launch-nft-collection/ May 16, 2022.5
  5.  Lopes, Daniel Pinto/Rita, Paula/Treiblmainer, Horst: The impact of blockchain on the aviation industry: Findings from a qualitative study, Research in Transportation Business & Management, Vol. 41, 2021, s. 2.6
  6.  Hernandez, Ornella: Emirates Airline to Accept Bitcoin Payments and Launch NFT Collection; May 13, 2022; accessed via https://blockworks.co/emirates-airline-to-accept-bitcoin-payments-and-launch-nft-collection/ May 16, 2022.7
  7.  Hernandez, Ornella: Emirates Airline to Accept Bitcoin Payments and Launch NFT Collection; May 13, 2022; accessed via https://blockworks.co/emirates-airline-to-accept-bitcoin-payments-and-launch-nft-collection/ May 16, 2022.8
  8. Reguerra, Ezra: Bitcoin to the sky: Emirates to accept BTC payments and launch NFT collectibles, May 13, 2022; accessed via  https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-to-the-sky-emirates-to-accept-btc-payments-and-launch-nft-collectibles on May 16, 2022.9
  9. Reguerra, Ezra: Bitcoin to the sky: Emirates to accept BTC payments and launch NFT collectibles, May 13, 2022; accessed via  https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-to-the-sky-emirates-to-accept-btc-payments-and-launch-nft-collectibles on May 16, 2022.10
  10.  Schwabe, Lars: Generating more transparency in aviation with blockchain technology; accesed via https://www.lufthansa-industry-solutions.com/de-en/solutions-products/aviation/generating-more-transparency-in-aviation-with-blockchain-technology on May, 17, 2022.11
  11.  Team Blockchain, Airliners use of blockchain technology, April 16, 2021; accessed via https://www.dlapiperintelligence.com/investmentrules/blog/articles/2021/airliner-use-of-blockchain-technology.html on May 17, 2022.12
  12.  Team Blockchain, Airliners use of blockchain technology, April 16, 2021; accessed via https://www.dlapiperintelligence.com/investmentrules/blog/articles/2021/airliner-use-of-blockchain-technology.html on May 17, 2022.13
  13. Partz, Helen: Venezuelan international airport to accept Bitcoin payments: Report, October 12, 2021; accessed via https://cointelegraph.com/news/venezuelan-international-airport-to-accept-bitcoin-payments-report May 17, 2022. 14
  14.  Lopes, Daniel Pinto/Rita, Paula/Treiblmainer, Horst: The impact of blockchain on the aviation industry: Findings from a qualitative study, Research in Transportation Business & Management, Vol. 41, 2021, s. 2.
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Blockchain,Crypto,Crypto News
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