The airport of the future will differ fundamentally from the present, says Ziko Atamuloev, CEO of Unicoaero. Ziko works at a start-up in Silicon Valley and explains to me his vision of the airport – which he wants to realize with blockchain technology.
Ziko founded Unicoaero in order to solve the biggest pain points for airlines, couriers, and passengers- lost, missing and mishandled baggage. He is very passionate about his job because he knows that he is „creating something that is going to be used by billions of people.“
- The Future of Airport: People fly, luggage travels behind or ahead
The basic idea of his vision is an airport that is full of travelers, but they don`t travel with their luggage. The ideal situation for Ziko is that the traveler’s luggage is picked up at home and transported to its destination place. As a traveler, I no longer have to carry my heavy suitcases with me, but this tiresome work is done for me. The thought behind this idea: International airports are already full of passengers and their luggage. The International Air Transport Association, which is the trade association for 290 airlines worldwide (IATA), expects 7.2 billion passengers in 2035, which corresponds to a doubling of passenger numbers on airports worldwide. The forecasts are based on an annual growth rate of 3.7% per year, led by booming growth in Asia. This means that airports tend to become much more crowded in the coming years. In order to create additional space and use the existing space more effectively, the luggage should disappear from the screen during your journey. This idea of taking the luggage and delivering it to your destination is already a reality in some parts of the world, like in Californian.
- Blockchain Technology: Luggage Tracking in Real-Time
Another idea is that passengers can see in real time the location of their luggage. The ideal situation in the future is that passengers can use a tracking number to determine exactly where their luggage is. This allows passengers to make sure that their luggage is on the right plane, even on long transit flights. According to Ziko, this should be possible through Blockchain. A blockchain solution offers greater security because all the data are stored, unchangeable and transparent for all market participants. When a suitcase runs through a tracking station or a scanner the data will be stored in the blockchain. Through this technology one can always see which station was responsible for the suitcase and where the last tracking point was.
Unicoaero is working on smart baggage contracts with ethereum blockchain, where airlines, baggage handlers at airports and check-in systems will be able to update and track the status of the bags and will create 100% visibility through the journey. Such an open protocol will resolve many problems for mishandling baggage especially for the connecting flights where bags are transferred from one airline to another. The connecting flights require an instant share of information and status updates between multiple parties. Unicoaero blockchain will provide the transparent baggage tracking solution for the airline industry and air travelers. According to Ziko, they are launching their blockchain product in 2018. From then on, it will be possible to determine the location of the suitcase.
- Present moment: Lack of Data-Sharing
At the moment it is not possible to track the suitcase during the whole journey. The main reason: Different contact persons store the information on their own and do not share it with each other. If a suitcase is scanned at Frankfurt Airport and checked into the system, the airport in Dubai, where the flight may be going, may not have access to this data. The more airports and transit stations exist on a trip, the more complicated it becomes and also more confusing to access the data. This storage of information in just one location, however, leads to dissatisfied results for passengers and airlines. According to Ziko, Blockchain technology can solve this problem. The decentralized storage of the information allows it to be used by various players.
- Preparation for Resolution 753
The good news is that blockchain technology is really needed by the airlines and airports because of the resolution 753 of IATA, which will change how we travel. For 2018 IATA is expecting a reduction in the number of bags that are mishandled through IATA Resolution 753. This resolution says that an airline must track a bag onto the aircraft, into arrivals or into transfers. Furthermore, this tracking information must be shared with the next airport in the journey. This capability is required to be in place by 2018. According to this Resolution, airlines must track baggage at four key points in the baggage journey as follows:
- Passenger handover to airline
- Loading to the aircraft
- Deliver to the transfer area
- Return to the passenger
This means that in order to implement this goal airlines and airports really need blockchain technology for fulfilling this requirement by IATA, which is becoming mandatory in 2018.
Blockchain technology enables the latest status of a luggage and transparently shows the suitcase location. The tracking data help to find lost luggage items more quickly and will automatize baggage handling because baggage that is identified faster will also be faster back in your apartment. Through blockchain technology, passengers will be able to track their suitcase and be aware of the exact location of their baggage.
Ziko Atamuloev, 25, is CEO and founder of Unico.aero. He was born in Tajikistan and lives and works in the USA. Unicoaero is a Silicon Valley-based technology company that has developed the Mishandled Baggage Technology Platform. Unicoaero makes the baggage delivery process transparent and efficient for airlines, passengers, and delivery partners.
Ceyhun Yakup Özkardes is an author and digital editor. He published several e-books about political science topics and technology.