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Swissport inks deals with blockchain start-ups

airport lounge

Swissport International signed letters of intent with two blockchain start-ups Olam and Winding Tree. The Swiss aviation services company provides ground and cargo handling.

Olam is a non-profit foundation that offers a decentralized platform where supply-chain participants can share data and services. It aims to cut the waste in modern supply chains. The platform does so by helping participants communicate with greater transparency and trust.

Winding Tree is also a blockchain platform but focuses on travel. The startup provides a decentralized marketplace where suppliers, sellers of travel and travelers can transact without middlemen. The platform offers flights, taxis, hotels, and the like.

The aim is that blockchain will allow users to tap into Swissport’s inventory on Winding Tree. Simple things, like airport lounge access and taxis for independent travelers, will be the initial focus. However, Swissport also wants to incorporate additional services for firms and individuals alike.

The pilot programme with Olam aims to demonstrate how blockchain can ‘speed up transactions, enhance transaction security and at the same time unlock cost savings’. This is especially important in Swissport’s cargo handling business where tracking and documentation are crucial.

Florian Eggenschwiler, the head of Swissport’s innovation unit, predicts that “we expect to see lasting benefits from this technology for fragmented global industries like aviation services and supply chain”.

He also cites the need to get familiar with the technology early in its innovation cycle. Therefore, he wants to be an early-adopter that will potentially reap the benefits later. These agreements represent the first steps where Swissport can “explore its potential in our business for a variety of use cases.”