Budget airline Volaris to accept bitcoin payments in El Salvador

The El Salvador-based subsidiary of ultra-low cost airline Volaris will accept bitcoin payments, according to tweets from El Salvador’s presidential Twitter account that were confirmed by the airline. 

El Salvador’s new bitcoin law requires all businesses in the country to accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment, as long as they have the appropriate technology to do so.

"The Volaris website is international and complies with the provisions of the jurisdictions where
we operate," the airline said in an emailed statement shared with The Block. "We are working to give our clients the option to pay with Bitcoin services in the airport," it said, referring to its El Salvador operations.

Though El Salvador’s presidential Twitter account quoted Nayib Bukele as saying that Volaris would be the “first airline in the world that will accept Bitcoin and of course Chivo Wallet,” multiple carriers have already announced they would accept the cryptocurrency, Reuters pointed out

One of the most recognizable names is Latvia’s Air Baltic, which announced back in 2014 that it would be the first airline to accept bitcoin and recently added additional cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash, Ether and Dogecoin. In 2015, payment service provider Openpay said that Mexico-based regional carrier TAR Airlines would be the “first Latin American airline” to accept bitcoin. Los Angeles-based Surf Air, which provides charter flights through membership plans, also said it would start accepting Bitcoin in 2017.

The booking engine Alternative Airlines also allows travelers the opportunity to book airline tickets using bitcoin, even for those airlines are not directly offering the cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

Bukele was speaking at an event to mark the official inauguration of Volaris’ new airline based in El Salvador. Volaris is most well-known for its extensive operation in Mexico, but also has subsidiaries in Costa Rica and now El Salvador.