Information technology, consulting and business process services company Wipro has developed a blockchain-based payment solution for digital payment solution specialist Travacoin to allow airlines to refund and compensate passengers using digital currency.

Passengers will be notified of delays or cancellations and refunded using the digital currency, which can then be used to purchase new airline tickets, book hotels or use other airport and travel-related services.

According to Wipro, the solution will speed up the processing time for compensation, while retail stores in and around airports can offer discounts for using Travacoins.

In addition, the company claims the use of blockchain technology will reduce administrative overheads for airlines. Resent research commissioned by Travacoin found using blockchain-based payments will save carriers between 20 and 40 per cent of what they are currently paying customers in cash and will also increase loyalty towards airlines through convenience during disruption.

Brian Whelan, CEO of Travacoin, said: “Travacoin is a unique solution to a common problem faced by the airline industry today. With every delay, be it cause by a staff strike or a technology problem, comes an increasing number of claims by passengers. Airlines respond defensively, consequently losing customer loyalty as well as millions in hard currency along the way.

“This solution offers airlines a cost-effective way to reconnect with their passengers in a positive way, turning adversity into opportunity. As we expand, the plan is to grow the solution to encompass other payment and settlement functions, turning Travacoin into a unique payment solution for the entire travel industry. Wipro’s deep domain know-how of the industry processes, blockchain expertise and ability to rapidly co-innovate and scale up the solution has been critical to our success.”

Krishnakumar N Menon, VP of service transformation and blockchain theme leader at Wipro, commented: “We are encouraging blockchain innovation by actively engaging with firms focused on solving real-world business problem. It has been exciting to work with Travacoin to build an innovative industry-leading travel currency for the airline industry. The blockchain-based solution will help airlines optimise costs through the reduction of administrative overheads and facilitate quicker payments and settlements.”

The news comes after Winding Tree announced the first hotel booking completed using a public blockchain. Earlier this year, TMC Corporate Traveller announced it would begin accepting cryptocurrency payments through a partnership with BitPay.;

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