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Malaysian airline AirAsia launches blockchain-based air cargo network

Image by Clément Alloing from Flickr

Tue, 21 Apr 2020, 10:05 am UTC

Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia just launched a blockchain-based air cargo network.

Called Freightchain, the solution aims to make the booking process for cargo space on AirAsia and other airlines easy and convenient. Prior to this change, shippers and freight forwarders would manually search for cargo transport networks to meet the supply chain demand and the process involves emails, phone calls, and lengthy communication to make space for a cargo, Ledger Insights reported.

However, with the addition of Freightchain that uses blockchain, shippers and freight forwarders can view the airline network and make bookings in real-time. It uses a bidding process allowing the shippers to opt for the cheapest plan or the fastest route to transport the cargo. The bids are validated using blockchain.

Freightchain aims to support the supply chain, which is affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It increases efficiency in cargo space booking and provides transparency at the same time.

“We deliberately launched Freightchain during this period of uncertainty within global supply chains, caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Vishal Batra, CTO of Freightchain. “Agile software platforms like Freightchain help to connect uneven supply and demand amidst a rapidly evolving environment. Trust and transparency are needed now more than ever.”

The platform has run a pilot to ship pharmaceutical cargo from Bangalore, India, to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The blockchain solutions confirmed itinerary via Malaysia and South Korea because there were no direct flights available.

The blockchain solution reduces booking and helps airlines manage their cargo space better. The interline booking also increases the efficiency of underutilized aircraft.

This isn’t the first time AirAsia invested in blockchain. In 2018, the airline also announced its plan to join the crypto market. AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes shared its initial coin offering (ICO).

“We have two things that are very interesting which will have relevance to ICOs, one is our loyalty card where we have [loyalty program] BIG Points, and I think those BigPoints can be easily transferred to the blockchain,” Fernandes said on the sidelines of Money2020 in Singapore, TechCrunch reported.

“We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty, [and] we’re building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely. We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency, there’s no point having a currency that can’t be used,” he added.

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