Combined aviation industry B2B exchange becomes official

A consortium of major airlines and aircraft parts suppliers yesterday formally announced the creation of a combined online trading exchange that has been in the works since last fall, when two separate business-to-business marketplaces said they planned to merge their operations.

The new exchange, called Cordiem LLC, is a combination of Washington-based AirNewco and Dallas-based MyAircraft. AirNewco was formed last April by a group of airlines that included United Air Lines Inc., American Airlines Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., while MyAircraft was set up in February last year by aerospace suppliers such as BFGoodrich Co., United Technologies Corp. and Honeywell International Inc.

Executives involved in the combined business-to-business exchange had said last week that the merger plans were close to being finalized (see story). Cordiem will be headquartered in Washington and will try to provide a vehicle for wringing efficiencies out of the supply-chain process for the participating airlines as well as the manufacturers that supply them with parts.

As part of yesterday's announcement, the combined exchange said it will use Ariba Inc.'s online procurement software and i2 Technologies Inc.'s supply-chain planning and Web-based catalog management applications, with IBM hosting its systems. Ariba and i2 had been separately tapped by AirNewco and MyAircraft exchanges and were brought together when the merger plans were announced last October (see story).

Cordiem is scheduled to start its business-to-business trading operations late next month or early May, according to Pat Wildenburg, vice president of B2B e-commerce at Delta and co-chair of the exchange's managing committee. Wildenburg said Cordiem plans to hire a permanent CEO and full senior management team in the near future. For now, it's being run by interim managers and about 120 workers drawn primarily from the founding members.

Cordiem is also setting up separate airline and supplier advisory councils that will provide input and feedback on its products and services. Goods that will be available through the exchange include fuel and fuel services, maintenance and engineering supplies, catering and cabin services, airport services and general parts procurement.

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