The European Union is funding a new blockchain technology-based project. When developed, it should help airlines to swap airport slots and save some costs along the way. In particular, the solution should offer a faster, more flexible, and semi-automated processing of slot transactions as well as protect sensitive air carriers’ data from competitors. 

The SlotMachine is a project executed by a consortium of three research partners, including the Austrian Institute of Technology, University of Linz and Swiss International Airlines, which aims to create a platform where the airlines will be able to swap the Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) slots while preserving their private data from competitors. The ATFM slots are allocated times of departures, issued by Eurocontrol’s Network Manager in order to regulate the aircraft traffic in crowded airspace areas. 

It is expected that the new project will use blockchain technology to extend the existing flight prioritization process and protect the airline’s confidential data, including flight cost structures, which depend on work-time restrictions for crew or the provisioning of connecting flights for passengers. Blockchain technology should also secure auditable transactions without the approval of a central broker, while airlines would be able to enter transactions without disclosing information to other air carriers.

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The SlotMachine is believed to have the potential to became an essential product in the aviation industry in the future which should help the airlines to swap ATFM slots while better using the existing resources at airports as well as lower emissions and shorten delays for their passengers.