In every sector, go-betweens are always in place to provide various services, and for airlines, global distribution systems such as Sabre and Amadeus are some of the intermediaries. While their services are ok, the firms also go through some challenges.
For Etihad Airways, global distribution systems are in place to provide products and service to its customers, but through blockchain, Etihad Airways has set its eyes on digitizing its services. By partnering with Winding Tree, Etihad is getting rid of GDS and onboarding its services and products on a blockchain platform. This will translate to customers having direct access to its inventory directly. Winding Tree is a platform that is using blockchain technology to digitize information such as flights and accommodation services to customers.
While its implementation will put some businesses out, its disruption will unveil excellent opportunities. In particular, GDS operators will be driven out of operations as go-betweens, but consumers stand to gain. Incorporation of Winding Tree platform will bring competition, which means better prices for travellers. Moreover, with different airlines signing up on Winding Tree, customers have more services. The latter will provide users with different packages. Similarly, no intermediaries mean no extra fees.
“While Winding Tree isn’t meant for retail consumers, getting rid of GDS fees will bring down the costs.” Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree’s chief operating officer and co-founder. “Across the globe, the travelling sector is associated with unpleasant experiences. However, through our innovative solution, we will revolutionize how business is done by getting rid of those bad experiences. In the process, our platform will increase competition between service providers, which will translate to fair prices for consumers.”
On the other hand, Tristan Thomas, director of digital and innovation at Etihad had this to say;
“While Winding Tree platform is replacing our previous distribution platform, it’s also allowing us to disrupt a market dominated by major distribution systems.”
Apart from luring in airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Air Canada, Winding Tree is also working with hotels. Winding Tree also has Swissport, an aviation service company, as one of the service providers on its platform.