Pioneering Blockchain in the Air Transport Sector


SITA, a technology provider owned by the air transport sector, is at the forefront of utilizing blockchain technology to revolutionize various aspects of air travel. Their initiatives span from simplifying aircraft spare parts tracking to enhancing pilot and passenger experiences through secure, digital solutions.

Researching Several Use Cases

Aircraft Spare Parts Tracking and MRO Challenges: The air transport industry, which spends approximately $50 billion annually on aircraft spare parts, faces significant challenges in tracking and tracing these parts as they move between airlines, lessors, and OEMs. The current largely manual system lacks a single view for tracking transactions, leading to increased risk and cost. Blockchain technology offers a promising solution to these issues by providing a secure and instantaneous method for sharing information across multiple stakeholders.

Pilot License Verification: For pilots, SITA has developed a blockchain-based solution that enables the verification of electronic personnel licenses (EPLs) without network connectivity. This system, which integrates Hyperledger Aries for peer-to-peer interactions, allows for secure, offline verification of pilot credentials, enhancing both efficiency and privacy. This innovation is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) move towards an industry-wide digital standard for EPLs.

Passenger Experience Enhancements: On the passenger front, blockchain technology is being used to improve efficiency and security. For example, the Aruba Health App, developed by SITA in collaboration with and the Aruba Health Department, enables visitors to share a trusted traveller credential based on their health status securely and privately. SITA is also working with decentralized identity startup Indicio on Digital Travel Credentials (DTC), allowing passengers to store digital versions of their passports on mobile wallets. This approach is expected to streamline document checks and enhance the travel experience.

Partnership with Zamna Technologies: SITA‘s partnership with Zamna Technologies marks a significant stride in using blockchain for verifying and handling passenger data such as passports, visas, and health information. This decentralized model aims to reduce the repetitive process of document presentation at various travel touchpoints, thereby offering efficiency, security, and a seamless travel experience.

Exploring Blockchain for Secure Single Travel Token: SITA is exploring the use of blockchain to provide travelers with a secure single token for seamless travel across airports and borders. This initiative could lead to the elimination of multiple document checks, with biometric authentication being a key component. SITA’s vision includes the use of digital passports to reduce complexity and cost associated with current travel document processes.

Innovative Research and Future Potential

SITA‘s research focuses on leveraging blockchain for a global, secure, and tamper-proof system that respects privacy by design. The potential of blockchain in creating decentralized databases that do not require a single authority for data storage or processing presents a revolutionary approach in the air travel industry.

In summary, SITA‘s diverse blockchain applications are set to transform the air transport industry by addressing key challenges in spare parts tracking, pilot license verification, passenger experience, and travel document management. Their efforts align with the broader trend of digital transformation in the sector, emphasizing security, efficiency, and the improvement of the overall travel experience.

Benefits & Outcomes
  • Enhanced tracking of aircraft spare parts
  • Improved pilot license verification
  • Efficient passenger processing
  • Single secure travel token concept
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