Blockchain technology is still in its infancy, but when it comes to the aviation industry, there is no denying its immense inherent potential. Some experts even argue that blockchain technology can become a true aviation business disruptor.
Blockchain is a digital technology that records and distributes data on computer networks. Blockchain data, which is stored in blocks that link to one another on a ledger, is structured in a decentralized method. The blockchain data links are cryptographic, which creates data that is private and secure, and that can be viewed by authorized users on the digital ledger. The blockchain ledger records and tracks all data changes and additions, in a fully transparent manner.
Blockchain is the ultimate system for environments that value full transparency, due to its distributed ledger-like technology. Transparency is also increased due to the fact that blockchain records cannot be altered without creating a record of the alteration. In addition to transparency, blockchain’s decentralized technology and cryptography-based structures minimize data risk and create added layers of security.
Today, the most popular use for blockchain are cryptocurrencies, from Bitcoin to Ethereum and other coins. That said, the aviation industry, which is ripe for disruption, can also benefit from blockchain technologies. “The endless opportunities of utilizing the fact that two parties can make a direct “trust-free” transaction opens up a whole new financial and operational ecosystem”, says Ido Biger, El Al’s VP of Technology. “Only time will tell whether traditional institutions will embrace this technology or treat it as a major inseparable part of the financial revolution led by Bitcoin and other cartography coins.”
Leveraging blockchain to optimize cyber resilience
Blockchain technology and its benefits are essentially designed to overcome a multitude of business-related challenges. One such challenge is cyber security.
Like many other industries, the aviation industry has been battling cybercrime for years. But over the past two years, cybercrime has become rampant in aviation. According to a think paper published by EUROCONTROL in July of 2021, in 2020 the industry suffered an astounding 530% increase in cyberattacks, in comparison to 2019. The data reveals that every week, a vast ransomware attack is executed against an aviation industry entity. Airlines in particular suffer from this grim reality, as they were targeted 775 times during 2020.
One of the greatest cyber threats posed to the aviation industry is the theft of customer and supplier data, which may contain personal information. Once stolen, this information, much of which is based on financial transactions, can be used for malicious purposes. It is this potential invasion of customer privacy that keeps airline cyber security officials awake at night.
The good news is that blockchain technology can potentially provide airlines and other aviation players with added security measures that protect valuable client and supplier data. According to Forbes, several major industry players are already using blockchain technology to enhance data security and privacy in fields that range from smart cars to healthcare.
Here’s how blockchain technology can potentially enhance aviation cyber resilience:
With blockchain, the possibilities for improvement are endless
Only time will tell if the aviation industry will adopt blockchain technology to increase its cyber resilience. What is already becoming clear is that airlines and airports are becoming more and more aware of the positive impact of blockchain on the financial aspect of different operations.
According to a recent report by Deloitte, blockchain is already starting to impact certain aviation practices – from parts tracking and leasing to airport slot management and revenue recognition. By using blockchain technology to eliminate human error and increase data integrity and end-to-end data visibility, aviation players can enhance their competitive edge and overall cost-efficiency. More on this in part 2 of this article, which will be published shortly.
EUROCONTROL, EUROCONTROL Think Paper #12 – Aviation Under Attack from a Wave of Cybercrime, July 5, 2021
Andrew Arnold, Forbes, Here’s Why More Enterprises Are Considering Blockchain As Data Privacy Solution, January 2, 2019