MyAircraft and AirNewco's move to get into the business-to-business (b2b) bed together is not an altogether surprising one in the crowded aerospacee-commerce market. It is, however, a shrewd move which should spark the next round of aerospace b2b consolidation.

Each partner brings vital ingredients to the combined venture. MyAircraft has spent the bulk of this year determining what the aerospace industry wants from an internet-based exchange and developing the capabilities, while AirNewco brings the all-important airline customers - and an impressive list of them at that.

The large-scale move by airlines to form their own exchanges earlier this year took some of the supplier-led exchanges somewhat by surprise. But many believe that some of the airline groups never had any intention of establishing their own exchanges, and instead always planned to later join a supplier-led exchange once they had worked out what they really wanted from b2b.

The two-phase b2b approach by the AirNewco airlines ensures that they now know a lot more about the internet way of doing things and are in a much stronger position with their new MyAircraft partners than if they had turned to Honeywell, United Technologies, BFGoodrich and i2 Technologies in the first place. It also means the airlines' investment will be far less than the minimum $50 million required to establish a b2b exchange from scratch.

The move has given the partners a good lead on the other large exchanges - SITA's Aerospan and Boeing/Lockheed Martin/BAE Systems/Raytheon's Exostar. But a number of large airline exchange groupings remain, including the Star Alliance-dominated Aeroxchange. The latter's members would provide a valuable boost to Aerospan or Exostar. Let the next phase of the b2b battle begin.

Source: Flight International