Australian airline Qantas recently announced that they are planning an NFT drop to their frequent flyers. This is not surprising, as NFTs have spread to areas other than art, such as music or even Instagram.
As exciting as it sounds, Qantas wasn’t the first airline to get into NFTs.
Latvian airline AirBaltic released its NFT collection in February 2021, becoming the first airline to do so.
AirBaltic Kuldiga NFT
Their NFT collection is inspired by their local landmarks and is intended as a tourism campaign. In honor of Latvia’s centenary in 2018, airBaltic conducted polls on favorite towns and cities in Latvia. The results came out as Kuldīga, which named the company’s Airbus A220-300 fleet.
The poll also inspired airBaltic’s NFT launch. Starting with Kuldīga, all cities added to the survey were listed as NFTs. As a result, all AirBaltic NFTs will initially look like the example on the left, with the exception of sequence numbers assigned differently for each city.
The first edition featured 100 unique NFTS with a fixed price of 0.05 ETH.
Commenting on NFT’s launch, the company said its primary goal is to increase global recognition. They said:
“As part of its marketing strategy, airBaltic is helping to gain global recognition and promote tourism in Latvia.”
Following AirBaltic’s lead, Qantas Airlines recently announced the release of their NFT collection. According to the announcement, the launch is planned for mid-2022.
In addition to increasing publicity, Qantas NFTs will award Qantas Points to their first-time buyers, which can be spent on purchasing airline tickets. While not much detail is given, the announcement also states:
“with even more exciting future benefits for Qantas NFT holders in the works.”
indicating that additional benefits are awarded in addition to Qantas points.
In addition, the company also acknowledged the adverse environmental impacts of minting NFTs and stated that Qantas NFTs would be released with net zero emissions, using low-carbon platforms and carbon offsets.
In reality, Emirates Airlines was the first airline to tinker with blockchain. However, their project was not based on NFT and was never launched.
Emirates’ primary motivation was no publicity; it was useful. After the pandemic brought the term “health passport” into our lives, Emirates Airlines announced that they were testing a blockchain-based digital health passport. The digital health passport, which runs on the blockchain, is designed to receive vaccination information and test results to aid in passengers’ travel preparations.
Because each country had its unique restrictions on international travel, Emirates reasoned that such an application was necessary. Emirates COO Adel Al Redha said:
“Travel requirements are dynamic today and more than ever our goal is to give our customers confidence and enable them to travel safely”,
However, even the app launched in June 2020 but only lasted today.
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