Emma Kelly/LONDON

Aerospace e-commerce company aviationX is implementing a new business strategy which will see it focus on providing regional airlines with specific internet-based applications rather than offering a broad online aerospace marketplace.

The move is viewed by some industry observers as the first sign of a shake-out of the increasingly busy aerospace e-commerce sector. Meanwhile, Honeywell and United Technologies are targeting equity investment for their delayed myAircraft aerospace exchange in a bid to get it up and running.

AviationX, launched at the Asian Aerospace show in Singapore in February, was one of the first aerospace exchanges. Its original business plan called for the introduction of an e-marketplace for sourcing, procuring and exchanging information, goods and services. In the last month, however, the company has changed its strategy and is now developing specific web-based "procurement and workflow-oriented" applications for the regional market alone.

The change is a result of two major developments. "Unanticipated co-operation" on e-initiatives among big industry players, such as Boeing/BAE Systems/ Raytheon/Lockheed Martin and various airline consortia, means there is "intense competition", it says, while the recent large-scale sell-off of US technology stocks means the original business plan - based on a public offering - is no longer viable.

The Arlington, Virginia-based operator has cut its workforce by 15% and "made the necessary financial adjustments". AviationX has five customers: US regionals Mesaba Airlines, Express I Airlines and Chautauqua Airlines, brake control system and pump supplier Hydro-Aire and regional aviation maintenance specialist Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation.

The five will begin testing its applications from the end of this quarter. AviationX is also discussing possible partnerships with software technology companies.

AviationX believes its new model could represent the shape of things to come in the aerospace e-commerce market. "We've learned that it will take a lot longer to reach the e-commerce end game," it says. "This is a big market with different e-commerce needs."

MyAircraft, meanwhile, has dropped its "dot.com" identity "to make it clear we are a real company with deep pockets", says vice-president Scott Clements. It is targeting airline customers prepared to take equity stakes, with subscribers to come later. It plans to roll out services from the third quarter, stressing the savings to be had through collaboration on the supply chain, rather than simple e-procurement.

Source: Flight International