Electrification and Sustainability

OPINION: How the Aviation Industry Can Tap Into Blockchain Technology Benefits

By Mesbah Sabur | April 6, 2023
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Mesbah Sabur, the founder of circular economy startup Circularise, describes the benefits of analyzing aircraft conditions with blockchain technology, ways that blockchain can reduce waste and emissions in aviation, and how traceability in aviation can support more sustainable practices. (Photo: IFS Labs)

It is estimated that the aviation blockchain market will grow around 22% between 2019 and 2025. There is increasing interest from the aviation industry in blockchain technology to enable traceability and transparency in operations, reduce supply chain complexity, digitize business processes, and improve passenger experience and communications. Blockchain and traceability can support the aviation industry at all stages of the supply chain to enable more sustainable practices.

By tracing the complex upstream supply chain, the industry can get more detailed insights into the sourcing and composition of materials and components, the certified amounts of recycled content in parts or bio-based content in sustainable aviation fuels, and the environmental impacts of each step of the production process. This enables all members of the supply chain—from raw material suppliers to part producers to OEMs and airlines—to make more sustainable design decisions for exterior and interior components in the aircraft cabin to reduce waste and emissions. As a result, the industry will be able to optimize its supply chain, reducing complexity and risk in the production process.

Blockchain traceability can also support activities in maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) in the aviation industry. It creates a record of the composition and sourcing of parts and components upstream in the form of digital product passports, and could include elements such as disassembly manuals or instructions. As a result, companies can extend product lifetimes and track the second or third life of parts and components, enabling more circular business models in the future.

What’s more, tracing the supply chain using blockchain allows companies in the aviation industry to better communicate their activities to the consumer. For instance, airline passengers can scan QR codes in their seats and other areas of the cabin to see how the aviation industry is incorporating sustainability into their operations. This can enable all the parties in the aviation industry to engage with passengers and raise awareness of how the industry is contributing to positive environmental impact.

Mesbah Sabur is the founder of Circularise, a circular economy startup.

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