Is the Aviation Industry Primed to Accept Crypto Payments?
Currently, only approximately 15,000 businesses worldwide accept Bitcoin and Ether payments. However, according to Deloitte’s June survey, 75 per cent of retailers plan to accept either cryptocurrency payments within the next two years.
Crypto undoubtably represents a rapidly growing challenge to the existing payment processes. So how does this look within the aviation industry?
Which airlines currently accept cryptocurrencies as payment?
Despite the number of companies planning to accept crypto in the near future. The current list of airlines directly accepting them as a form of payment is surprisingly short. The following list names a few of the airlines already a part of the “cryptocurrency revolution:”
- AirBaltic – Latvian air carrier. In 2014 the airline became the world’s first to accept Bitcoin as payment. Since 2021, the carrier cooperated with Bitpay and now accepts Bitcoin cash, Ether, and Dogecoin amongst others.
- Peach Aviation – A leading low-cost Japanese airline was the first airline in Japan to accept crypto payment.
- Surf Air – Los Angeles based airline offering private charter flights.
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Emirates – the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates only announced their plans to accept crypto payments in May 2022.
Additionally, there are a few third-party sellers through which you can pay for flights using cryptocurrencies. These include:
- Alternative Airlines
The benefits of crypto payments
By now we are well versed in the benefits of crypto payments. But to summarise, from a company point of view some of the benefits are as follows:
- Customers and vendors increasingly want to engage with crypto
- Facilitates real-time accurate revenue-sharing
- Associates your brand with cutting edge technology
- Opens the company up to new demographic groups
- No payment processing fees
- Easy international payments
- No charge-backs
- Safe and secure mobile payments
- No limits on transaction sizes
- Fast processing times
Travellers are more likely to own Bitcoin than the general public
According to Morning Consult’s survey, people who travel are more likely to own Bitcoin. 11 per cent of respondents who travelled less than once annually reported owning Bitcoin compared to 25 per cent of those who travel one to four times annually. Notably, 33 per cent of those who travel five or more times annually also owned Bitcoin.
This trend indicates a correlation between frequency of travel and the use of cryptocurrency. With the combination of an increase in airlines accepting crypto, the various benefits crypto payments can offer businesses, and the link between passengers who fly frequently and the possession of bitcoin the aviation industry appears set for crypto payments to take off.
Be ahead of the curve
An increasing number of crypto payments are being seen across Gen-X, Millennials, and even Zoomers. So, whilst card payments still account for 80 per cent of aviation service transactions, the integration of crypto as a payment method is an opportunity for business to get ahead of the curve.
Paul van Alfen will be interviewing the Martin Gauss, CEO of AirBaltic on the future of their FinTech strategies at the festival in Amsterdam this October. Paul is an interviewer and moderator at this year’s World Aviation Festival and has highlighted crypto payments as an interesting trend to keep an eye on in the payments sector. Paul’s personal views are not represented in this article.
Additionally, the question “Should the aviation industry be starting to introduce crypto and bitcoin payment options now, and is this what the passenger wants?” will also be explored on a panel discussing the new opportunities in alternative payments.
Article by Jess Brownlow