Peach Aviation, the Japanese low-cost carrier owned by Japan’s largest Airline, ANA, becomes the first in the country to allow fliers to pay for tickets with bitcoin.
In a first, a Japanese airline will accept bitcoin for tickets amid the rising popularity of bitcoin in the region. Announced today, Peach’s decision to accept the world’s most popular cryptocurrency comes following a handful of significant recent legal changes.
Chief among them is Japan’s classification of bitcoin as a recognized method of legal payment after passing bills to underline digital currencies as the digital equivalent of paper money last year. Come July, Japan will now longer impose the 8% consumption tax rate on bitcoin buying through exchanges. All of which has led to Japan becoming the world’s leading market for bitcoin trading in recent months.
The airline is aiming to soar on bitcoin’s popularity by collaborating with local governments and companies in Japan to help ‘spread usage’ of bitcoin, the company told reporters in Tokyo on Monday. There’s plenty of momentum for such a cause, with up to 260,000 Japanese retail storefronts set to accept the cryptocurrency this year.
A month ago to the day, the government of the Japanese city of Hirosaki began accepting bitcoin donations toward the preservation of a historic cherry tree park. ‘At Hirosaki-city, we consider bitcoin donations as a great opportunity to attract tourists from overseas,” stated a city official at the time.
“We want to encourage visitors from overseas and the revitalization of Japan’s regions,” Inoue is quoted as stating by the Bloomberg, with the announcement to accept bitcoin.
Peach chief executive Shinichi Inoue sees similar benefits in adopting the cryptocurrency, particularly to make the airline an appealing choice for wealthy Chinese tourists who represent a population that has adopted digital payments like no other.
While based in Japan, Peach offers low-cost international travel options to a number of regional countries including Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and China. Notably, Peach has also begun accepting payments via Alipay, a payments platform used by half a billion users in China, earlier this year.
As the first Japanese airline to accept bitcoin, Peach joins the likes of Polish airline LOT which began selling flight tickets for the cryptocurrency back in August 2015.
Elsewhere, CheapAir.com, the first US online travel agency to accept bitcoin, revealed record figures in bitcoin sales leading into the first quarter of 2017. In the six months prior, the booking agency processed $15 million in bitcoin payments, a 74% jump, after it made the decision to accept the cryptocurrency in early 2014.
Featured image of Peach flight landing in Hong Kong from Shutterstock.