As it rules the skies, Emirates Airline has also maintained a global presence with its logo appearing on football jerseys, among other products. Collectibles such as keychains and accessories have been a significant part of brands establishing visibility in everyday life. But like everything, digitization has elevated branding as well, through social networks and virtual art. Now, the airline will launch its own set of customized NFTs and metaverse experiences to elevate its digital appeal. Apart from marketing, the virtual assets will also generate revenue for the airline from investors. These digital tokens will be virtual replicas of collectibles – registered on the blockchain. The airline has also announced plans for metaverse experiences, almost a year after introducing VR tours. It allows people to wear VR headsets and examine the cabin and seats remotely before booking a trip. The metaverse being more immersive is expected to magnify this consumer experience. Airlines in other parts of the world, such as Europa, have launched flight tickets in the form of NFTs. Digital tokens are used to promote regional artists and sell high-end diamond collectables in the UAE. Last month, a Dutch fashion designer launched Abaya NFTs in Dubai to attract local consumers. Emirates is known for onboarding the latest tech to tackle challenges, including the pandemic. It had earlier launched tech for contactless access to its lounge and check-in baggage. The Emirates app allowed flyers to create playlists for inflight entertainment and check menus touch-free. Apart from Emirates, regional airline Etihad is making its mark in the virtual space. The Etihad Stadium in Manchester is all set to get its metaverse replica created by Sony. Both Emirates and Etihad had also introduced the IATA travel pass, which uses blockchain tech to encrypt passenger data.
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Patrick Chalhoub on his passion for art, culture and retro-futurism