Bitnet and UTAP Announce Partnership, Bitcoin Payments Coming Soon

February 12, 2015         By: Michael Cheng

Bitcoin has finally found its way in the highly competitive airlines industry. Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP) and Bitnet’s newly formed collaboration may help solidify the use of bitcoin in UATP merchants, i.e., JetBlue, Qantas, US Airways and United Airlines, and other businesses.

The UATP payments group is owned by leading international airlines, such as American Airways, British Airways, and Lufthansa.

Akif Khan, Bitnet vice president of solutions strategy, said, “It’s very much in the airlines’ interest for the consumer to pay with bitcoin given that the airline will have cheaper fees and they know that money can’t be taken away in a fraudulent transaction.”

Khan also pointed out that initially; no companies in the space will cater to bitcoin transactions. Instead, the agreement is designed to pave the way for other airlines that are considering the option. The network plans to rollout an early version of the payments integration, which is similar to the way UTAP transactions are administered.

The potential of Bitnet’s integration includes the ability for customers to receive refunds in the digital currency. Airlines would be able to benefit from the alternative payments method since no special reporting components are required for transactions.

“This partnership sends a clear message to airlines we’re not coming in to see you to talk about how great bitcoin is, we understand how your airline payment systems work, we understand the legacy airline ecosystem and we understand how hard it is to make changes to those systems,” highlighted Khan.

Wendy Ward, UATP vice president of marketing and communication, clarified that the organization’s move to push for virtual currency integration correlates with the interests of its participating carriers.

Ward also suggested that airlines might be able to attract more customers with bitcoin-friendly services.