Etihad tags Winding Tree to use blockchain and bypass Sabre

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ national carrier, said on Thursday it has teamed up with open-source travel platform Winding Tree to explore using blockchain to distribute products and services without the need for third parties such as Sabre. Etihad is one of several airlines and hotels that have partnered with Switzerland-based Winding Tree over the last few years to bypass intermediaries using the distributed ledger technology. “Winding Tree is obviously our distribution (platform) and that’s an opportunity for us to disrupt a traditionally siloed market dominated by major distribution systems,” Tristan Thomas, Etihad’s director of digital and innovation, said in a phone interview. Winding Tree’s platform will allow corporates and institutions like airlines and hotels to publish available inventory to those customers directly. While the platform is not aimed at retail consumers, the fact that intermediaries’ fees are being bypassed ultimately means lower costs, Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree’s chief operating officer and co-founder, told Reuters.

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