Malaysian budget airlines Air Asia has announced that it is about to launch a cryptocurrency-based frequent-flyer rewards program.
The Nikkei Asia Review revealed last week that Air Asia plans to update its current digital services to include a cashless system. The system is part of a major upgrade of its digital program which will include seat purchasing, in-flight meals, seat upgrades and other services. The airlines will offer passengers an alternative to fiat currencies through the launch of its own digital currency in next six months, although it is still unclear whether the airline has plans to utilize an existing platform in the future.
Air Asia is not the only airlines to examine if blockchain tech is suitable as a possible rewards program. Singapore Airlines also announced last month its intentions to launch a frequent flyer program of its own in this way, although the company hasn’t commented on plans to develop its own cryptocurrency.
Taiwan Airline, Far Eastern Air, has also announced that it will accept crypto payments for its ticketing, becoming the first Taiwanese airline to offer its passengers cryptocurrency fares. The airline promises to accept cryptocurrency payments and all relevant services and sees itself as a ‘pioneer’ in the industry as a result. The airline’s president, Zhang Gangwei, suggests that “…the widespread use of cryptocurrency in various scenarios will usher in a new future for the airline business…”.
Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, now well known for their adoption of cryptocurrency as a means of payment for services, are proactive within the travel industry, always seeking ways to improve customer satisfaction. A South Korean travel website with over 50,000 hotels is now offering its guests cryptocurrency paid bookings.
Air Asia head Tony Fernandes claims that cryptocurrencies will play “an important role in the South East Asian economy” as the region is home to millions of overseas workers who send billions of dollars across borders.