Award Nominee

Royal Schiphol Group

From psychical hub tot data hub – how blockchain allows digital transaction in airport eco system

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The road to becoming Europe’s Preferred Airport.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was Europe’s third largest airport in passenger numbers and third in cargo volumes in 2017, welcoming 68.5 million passengers and processing 1.75 million tonnes of cargo. This makes Amsterdam Airport Schiphol one of the most important mainports in Europe and one of the two European hubs of Air France-KLM and the SkyTeam alliance.  Schiphol is an important contributor to the regional economy, providing employment for around 65,000 people at the airport.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has a rich tradition at being at the forefront of innovation in the aviation industry. For over hundred years Schiphol combined its unique location and innovative spirit to realise a European mainport function. Now in this digital age Schiphol again leads the way in innovation.

Digital innovation in a complex Aviation ecosystem

The airport’s natural role is that of the facilitator, the provider of infrastructure. The physical hub where all parties and processes connect to guarantee a safe, secure and optimized air travel experience. In this complex ecosystem where numerous private and public companies work together, there is a lot of data needed. The organizations need to work closely together. Although they are interdependent, they are also competing with each other and sharing data is a challenge.

Smart Airport Data (SMARD) is responsible for smart data services and making them available to the airlines, non-sector and other (internal) users. We provide a SMARD journey, allowing passengers to have contextual and location based information and services. For stakeholders in the Operations we provide contextual and location based information allowing the proper interaction or intervention.

Data sharing is the future. DLT is the only way.

Distributed Ledger Technology, or more specific Blockchain technology, provides a trustless, decentralized, digital infrastructure where all sector parties can share data to optimize business processes without losing control and ownership of their data.

Distributed Ledger Technology  is:

  • Secure: Uses cryptography to create transactions that are impervious to fraud and established a shared truth
  • Shared: Blockchain value is directly linked to the number of organisations or companies that participate in them. There is huge value to even the fiercest of competitors to participate with each other in these shared database implementations
  • Distributed: There are many replicas of the Blockchain ledger. In fact, the more replicas the more authentic it becomes
  • Ledger: The ledger is write once so it an immutable record of every transaction that occurs.

The aviation ecosystem runs on mutual trust and the need to protect data in a secure way. This characteristic aligns perfectly with what Distributed Ledger technology has to offer. The airline industry is handling some of the most complex syncing mechanisms between different systems. Data such as the departure data, arrival data and all other details are stored in various systems, which then work in sync to safety and securely operate a flight on the runway.

Airports are a hub of data collection amongst multiple parties and many different touch points. We foresee the future of Schiphol as being a facilitator and incubator, extending our physical hub function to a digital hub by providing a secure and trusted data aviation ecosystem.

Schiphol has engaged on the discovery how DLT effectively can be introduced in the airport eco system

Use case: DLT on Retail

It is our ambition to operate as a digital Facilitator in a trust less environment enabling optimization for all parties. We see DLT use cases for all major strategic directions of the Airport: Passenger, Employee and Airlines and sector.

There are a couple of steps that are followed for discovery:

  1. Understanding of Blockchain & challenges that qualify for Blockchain;
  2. Value discovery, determine where to leverage and capture value;
  3. First pancake experiments, learning by doing;
  4. Validation to scale;
  5. Scale and repeat;

After an initial experiment on the technology itself a first proof of concept has been developed that has potential business value in creating additional revenue.

Piloting DLT:

In order to grow and experiment in an agile manner we have started the implementation of our data driven DLT strategy with a first pilot together with an airline and retail partner.

It is Schiphol Retails’ ambition to be more relevant and personal for passengers, to offer a seamless journey and also offer them the best possible experience while enjoying their stay on the premise.

The challenge lies in reaching out; how can Schiphol be relevant in channels not owned to get the biggest reach while also develop a new business model?

And if we succeed in building a new business model, how can we build upon this success with trust as pillars?

By utilizing the unique strengths of Distributed Ledger Technology, Schiphol can bridge the gap between the (constrained) world of Schiphol’s Retail/Marketing department and the world of their partners, where trustless systems will automatically address concerns regarding privacy, settlement and contracting details.

The pilot focuses on enabling an airline partner to present relevant, personalized offers to their passengers by combining passenger profiles, location and Special Offers, as well as offers from the airline themselves, all utilized by an auction-based smart contract.

This creates a unique, dynamic environment where multiple interested parties can bid on high-profile key-locations to acquire advertising opportunities to targeted audiences, all served from the decentralized and thus trustless nature of the Blockchain.


  • Via the Smart Auction Contract we offer passenger relevant offers leading to greater satisfaction
  • The Smart Auction Contract allows airline to extend their commercial offering to the passenger
  • The solution offers our partners an additional channel to market their offers

It allows all participants to collaborate real-time and keep confidential sensitive information confidential

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