Bitnet and Universal Air Travel Plan Make Way for Bitcoin Acceptance to Over 260 Airlines

Chris Evans
Feb 11, 2015 · 2 min read

This may be another major breakthrough in Bitcoin’s quest for mainstream adoption. Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP), a payment network owned by international airlines that include British Airways, American Airways, and Lufthansa, has recently teamed up with Bitcoin payment processor Bitnet.

The integration facilitates more than 260 of UATP’s airlines to accept bitcoins via Bitnet, which started yesterday, February 10, 2015. The company, which processes about $14 billion in payments as of 2014, also has the airlines JetBlue, Qantas, US Airways, and United Airlines as merchants.

UATP’s decision for Bitcoin acceptance came from the fact that more carriers have taken a liking to the cryptocurrency. It should also be noted that UATP has long been pushing for emerging payment methods, having added PayPal in 2009 and Alipay in 2013. Right now, Bitcoin’s rise to prominence as an alternative payment that does not possess the usual barriers makes it a fitting choice even for airlines.

The partnership must somehow entail others to follow, as the innovative calling of bitcoins for other merchants from different industries can be hard to ignore. Akif Khan, vice president of solutions strategy expects that their collaboration with UATP will do much to encourage other businesses to do the same.

Furthermore, UATP will not implement added fees for processing bitcoins, though it was confirmed that Bitnet is compensating it for handling transactions through its network.

Traditional payment methods may already be established, but there are still aspects that remain problematic such as the high cost of credit card processing, challenges with mitigating fraudulent activities, and of course, the mere necessity for enhanced cross-border payment tool and options.

With Bitcoin’s acceptance, such issues may finally be addressed, though it should be through long-term application. As Khan has pointed out, the integration of bitcoins is putting a foundation in place that enables this global network of airlines to have a much lower barrier to entry if they wish to accept Bitcoin.

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