Raymund Berja on CoinGeek Backstage

AirAsia to tap blockchain for travel rewards, CFO Raymund Berja tells CoinGeek Backstage

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Air travel is gradually marching toward former heights after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the industry to its knees. With the travel resurgence has come fierce competition between airlines, and AirAsia plans to leverage blockchain for its rewards system to gain an edge in the Asian air travel sector.

AirAsia commenced operations in 1996 in Malaysia, and in the two decades since, it has become one of the most prominent players in the Asian market. It now serves over 165 destinations and has been named the world’s best low-cost airline for 13 consecutive years.

Speaking to CoinGeek Backstage reporter Claire Celdran, Chief Financial Officer Raymund Berja revealed that the carrier is bouncing back after a few tough years due to the pandemic. It’s also expanding to South Korea and China.

Berja also spearheads the AirAsia Super App, “the digital pivot business that allows users to book hotels, flights, buy duty-free products, and more.” The app also offers users in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia ride-hailing and food delivery services.

AirAsia is integrating blockchain into its operations, Berja said. The airline has an existing rewards system that “we want to spin off via blockchain technology.” Users can use the points accrued to book flights and hotels.

“I think blockchain technology will give us that kind of flexibility in a more robust platform. That [project] is in the pipeline in our AirAsia headquarters in Malaysia.”

Berja added that the airline is yet to settle on the blockchain network to build on, but it’s leaning more towards a private database “and then spin it off with blockchain technology.”

“The group’s direction is to collaborate with someone who has better understanding and who can help us build a more robust product; we’re open to that.”

Building on the Bitcoin SV blockchain would allow the airline to leverage the network’s unbounded scaling to serve its millions of customers seamlessly. With air travel being a time-sensitive industry where a fifteen-minute delay can translate to a missed flight, only Bitcoin SV’s real-time transactions and very low fees (a fraction of a penny per transaction) can deliver the benefits of a blockchain network.

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