Airlines Plan Buyer-Driven B2B Exchange

STOCKHOLM (04/12/2000) - Members of Star Alliance, an international airline network with members throughout the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe, today unveiled plans to lead the launch later this year of a buyer-driven, business-to-business e-commerce exchange for the global airline industry.

The exchange aims to allow all participating airlines to buy supplies over the Web, and the site will thus be managed and operated independently of any individual airline, said Ingvar Soderlund, director of corporate purchasing at Star Alliance member Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) in a telephone interview today.

Several carriers not part of the Star Alliance have already expressed interest in the exchange. The name of the exchange and its management team as well as technology partners will be announced at a later date, according to a company statement.

The venture's technical partners are likely to be major U.S.-based IT companies, said Soderlund, declining to discuss any financial details of the plan.

The buyer-driven exchange will offer participating airlines several benefits, including an industry-specific selection of goods and services, ranging from technical aircraft parts and ground equipment to general office supplies, he said.

Star Alliance members alone make up about 25 percent of the worldwide market for such goods and services, which Soderlund said is a multi-billion-dollar business.

"In addition to lower prices, the exchange will also offer additional benefits, such as lower administrative and inventory costs, as well as a more clearly defined marketplace," he added.

As of April 7, the Star Alliance network includes Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Ansett Australia, Austrian Airlines Group (comprising Austrian Airlines, Lauda Air and Tyrolean Airways), Lufthansa German Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines System, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, United Airlines and Varig Brazilian Airlines.

Two additional airlines, Mexicana Airlines and British Midland Airways, are slated to join the Star Alliance later this year, according to the statement.

More information about the Star Alliance can be found on the Web at http://www.star-alliance.com/. SAS, in Stockholm, can be reached at +46-8-79-70000, or via the Web at http://www.scandinavian.net.

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