The president of the United Nation’s specialized agency for aviation has said that blockchain technology could offer tremendous benefits across aviation systems globally, industry news source AirTrafficManagement.net reported on April 4.
The president, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, made his remarks to an international audience of government officials, aviation and tech experts during the inaugural Council for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Blockchain Summit and Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
Dr. Aliu noted that with global air traffic volumes anticipated to double over the next 15 years, blockchain technologies have a major potential to reduce pressure on current resources, while sustaining quality amid increasing demand.
With increased air traffic, ground, passenger, ticketing and cargo handling activities are set to intensify, the ATM news reporter notes — along with the accompanying tracking, administrative and certification requirements. In this light, Dr. Aliu emphasized that:
“Blockchain has the potential to virtually exclude loss, distortion, or forgery of vital log data in all aviation sectors where certificates are issued and controlled.”
He further reportedly noted that blockchain implementation can be envisioned across virtually all areas of aviation where complex records — that are crucial for safety — need to be created and updated including personnel licensing, aircraft maintenance, operational approvals and cargo manifests.
The ICAO president also reportedly isolated verifying traveller identity as a major area where blockchain can offer benefits for the aviation industry and governments worldwide.
Given its prospective transformative impact, Dr. Aliu stressed that integration of the technology is likely to present fundamental challenges for the industry:
“The aviation system today relies mostly on human agents or intermediaries to assume validation activities, and so we can foresee that the integration of blockchain [...] in support of a state’s aviation safety oversight system, for example, would likely require substantial adjustments to related regulations, procedures, and responsibilities.”
He thus stressed the need to mitigate cyber risks and to ensure that stakeholders and states coordinate a robust and global cybersecurity strategy where blockchain — and notably, smart contracts — could be used to manage critical safety and security processes for civil aviation.
As previously reported, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was ostensibly selected as a host venue for the ICAO summit due to local authorities’ ongoing efforts to implement blockchain at state level in various areas of the local economy. The event is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and included the country’s minister of economy as speaker.