Airport e-marketplace to take off

An e-marketplace serving airports plans to recruit New Zealand partners after it finally takes off this week.

An e-marketplace serving airports plans to recruit New Zealand partners after it finally takes off this week.

AirportXchange.com is intended to allow the air travel industry to conduct online procurement and business transactions, buy and sell retail products and provide information and other services.

AirportXchange is incorporated in the US but owned by Malaysian systems integrator and IBM partner Xybase Technologies. It was formally launched last year but the first transaction this week will be the procurement for an as-yet-undisclosed $US500 million airport terminal.

Company president Suhaimee Abu Hassan, a former IBM staffer, told the IBM E-business Insight event in Kuala Lumpur he had years of involvement with airports and says Xybase is “well known” to 90% of the 7000 airports worldwide.

Hasson says his firm is collaborating with key airports around the world, including Sydney, Brisbane and Heathrow. In the next few months he will visit New Zealand to arrange partnerships with Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington airports, which he expects in place within a year.

The net-based service will bring airports cost savings, better space allocation, more accurate planning and forecasting and new revenue streams, Hassan says. It offers a "tradezone" where members can buy and sell excess inventory, build a list of preferred suppliers and post online tenders and quotes.

AirportXchange.com also promises services such as flight information, weather reports from around the world, duty free shopping and car rental, aiming to be a one-stop shop for the traveller.

AirportXchange.com uses an Oracle platform and an IBM eServer P Series 680, running on AIX Unix-based technology.

Gartner Research has predicted the collapse of most e-marketplaces, but Hassan is confident of survival.

This, he says, is because the portal operates from major cities with the best and most reliable broadband access, Xybase is creating global partnerships and because Hassan has “domain expertise”. The airport sector previously had five e-marketplaces, Hassan says, but now there are only two.

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