The specialised world of flight planning and documentation, long dominated by US giant Jeppesen, is set for its biggest shake-up ever through the formation of an alliance of three of Europe's key players in the field.

Lufthansa Group's Lido unit, SAS Flight Support (SASFS), and Air France Aeronautical are to create a "virtual company" which will market and supply each other's products.

In a sign of things to come, the venture's first success has come in persuading Lufthansa to switch its in-flight documentation contract from Jeppesen to the new team.

And the grouping is in the final stages of negotiating a deal with flight management system (FMS) manufacturers Honeywell and Smiths Industries for the provision of real-time navigation data which would not be tied to the current 28-day ICAO/ARAC FMS-update cycle.

The companies are also looking at other partners, possibly including an avionics supplier, to bolster capabilities and achieve a long-held vision in the European industry of seizing a substantial part of Jeppesen's more than 90% market share.

Source: Flight Daily News