Vueling, a low-cost Spanish airline, has announced it is exploring the functionality of blockchain and NFT (non-fungible token) technology to accept cryptocurrency as a means of payment for its services. The company enlisted the aid of Criptan, a registered Spanish cryptocurrency exchange, and aims to open this payment option for users by Q3 2023.
Vueling to Collect Payment in Crypto
Vueling, one of the Spanish budget airlines that has grown after the Covid-19 travel restrictions ended, is taking its first steps to accepting crypto as payment for its services. The company announced on Jan. 14 it was examining the usage of blockchain and NFT technology in order to allow customers to acquire plane tickets with crypto.
For this task, Vueling has partnered with Criptan, a national exchange that has already registered with the Bank of Spain, to serve as a payments company, processing and completing customers’ orders using crypto.
Vueling states this move will turn it into the first low-cost airline to accept crypto as a means of payment in Europe. On this, Jesus Monzo, Vueling’s alliances and distribution manager, stated:
This agreement places us at the forefront of new technologies and innovation, further reinforcing our commitment to our customers and offering the best and most advanced tools and solutions on our website.
Jorge Soriano, Criptan’s CEO, stated the company is convinced that the introduction of crypto payments could improve user experience by showing customers the potential there is behind the implementation of such solutions.
The functionality is expected to be available on the website of the airline by Q3 2023, and it will be using UATP tech, the global payments network for airlines, although the company has not indicated which cryptocurrencies will be accepted.
Airlines and Crypto
Other airlines have already introduced crypto and even NFTs as part of their retail operations. One of these is Flybondi, an Argentine airline, that announced it would be issuing plane tickets as NFTs in September 2022, allowing users to sell them on secondary markets. As part of that alliance, the company would also accept payments in stablecoins like USDC, using Binance Pay as a payment processing partner.
But even prior to that, the Venezuelan government reported it would be accepting several cryptocurrencies as payment for plane tickets in Oct. 2021, including among these the national token, the petro.
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