Research Projects

Blockchain Technology and Airports - A Primer In Reserve

Assigned to Siegfried Adler
Last Edited by Mike Salamone

Develop a primer to introduce airports to blockchain technology, describe potential use cases, and offer guidance to incorporating blockchain into their airport's operations.


• What is blockchain?

• History

• Benefits

• Airport use cases

• Survey of airport-specific applications and vendors

• Implementing/converting to blockchain technology

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Bitcoin cryptocurrency and its underlying technology – blockchain – have captured the imagination of investors, financial institutions and technology solution providers. Blockchain's simplicity and elegance lends itself to many business-to-business markets, and aviation is no exception. In essence, blockchain is a secure and robust ledger of business transactions. And yet, its simplicity has become a disruptive innovation because it can both optimize and reduce the cost of many types of transactions by eliminating the middlemen in distribution channels, e.g., banks, credit card companies, freight forwarders and especially information aggregators.

Information systems built on blockchain technology can be used by members of an airport ecosystem from its air carriers, ground handlers, concessionaires and security providers in both large and small airports. Today airport mission critical and business processes often rely on proprietary, sole sourced solutions based on 1990's information exchange technology. Blockchain's ingrained security features coupled with its distributed processing capabilities lead to increased operational performance, reduced costs, improved workflow management, added data privacy and strong auditing capabilities.


Airports have been hearing about blockchain, and have questions about its applicability to their operations. Examples of airport information systems that may leverage blockchain technology include flight information and airport resource management, baggage handling and tracking, airport inspections, and reporting of both landing fees and concession point of sale activity. Unfortunately, the blockchain industry does not currently have any airport-specific guidance available. The proposed primer will educate airport staff about blockchain technology. It will also guide them during procurement efforts to help select future proofed solutions based on new aviation and evolving blockchain-based systems and services.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

a. Identify main elements of blockchain technology which will bring benefits to the airport community
b. Identify attributes of these elements
c. Identify airport specific blockchain technology recommendations
d. Work with SEA, TBD airports t
o develop airport blockchain use cases
e. Evaluate existing technologies which can meet blockchain requirements
f. Develop Airport blockchain standards

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

The estimated funding is $250,000
Research will include:

Meeting and phone
conferences with blockchain experts to review the technology and implementation

Meeting and phone conferences with selected airports to develop use cases

Meeting and phone conferences with airport
-specific blockchain application vendors to review and evaluate their

Drafting and editing the primer

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

The Volpe Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation has released a report that explores how blockchains may
affect the transportation sector.
Airports Council International -
World has a team working on blockchain -
Blockchain Task Force. The objective is
to create a reference guide for airports.

Idea No. 59