Norwegian Airline to Accept Bitcoin Payments, Mainstream Impact Will be Minimal


There is still plenty of work to be done before Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can gain major mainstream traction. Especially where the world’s leading cryptocurrency is concerned, things are not looking all that great. A new beacon of light comes in the form of Norwegian Air Shuttle, which confirmed it will begin experimenting with Bitcoin payments. 

Bitcoin and Airlines Make for an Interesting Combination

Over the past few years, there have been numerous companies active in the world of air travel which began experimenting with Bitcoin. Expedia is perhaps the biggest name in that regard, albeit it is far from the only company to do so. Unfortunately, it seems these ventures hardly ever turn out well, as most companies ditch BTC sooner rather than later.

Whether or not Norwegian Air Shuttle will fare any different in that regard, remains to be determined. The company has confirmed an interest in Bitcoin, which will become a new payment method later this year. It is also the first time a European airline allows clients to directly purchase tickets with Bitcoin, rather than going through a third-party solution. That in itself is a promising sign, although it should not be interpreted as more than that. 

Even in Europe, the name Norwegian Air Shuttle will not ring too many bells. Even though it is a low-cost airline, the company is competing with some major players in this particular segment. The company has a fleet size of 53 planes (excluding subsidiaries) and has operating bases in most major European cities. The company also has a presence in LA and New York. The company switched from a regional airline to being a budget carrier in 2002. 

For those users who like statistics, Norwegian Air Shuttle generated 40.265bn NOK in revenue last year. Despite that solid figure, the company lost 3.85 bn NOK in operating income and 1.454bn NOK in net income. To put this in more mainstream figures, that means losses of $445,770.325 and $168,350,663 respectively. Not a good year for the company, albeit the acceptance of Bitcoin payments might effectively help turn the ship around. No miracles should be expected from this new payment method, though. 

It is uncommon to see any company accept Bitcoin payments directly in this day and age. Virtually all service and product providers rely on a third-party merchant to process payments, such as Coinbase, BitPay, or CoinPayments. Norwegian Air Shuttle is doing things a bit differently, primarily because the owners of this firm are also building the Norwegian Block Exchange, or NBX. The payment solution put in place for Norwegian Air Shuttle is developed by NBX as well.

While this news is rather interesting on paper, its impact remains unclear. Bitcoin has not achieved mainstream traction, and that will not change because of this Norwegian airline either. It is another feather in the cap of the crypto industry as a whole, but it remains to be determined how long customers can pay with Bitcoin. If other service providers are any indication, that situation might not remain in place for very long. 

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