As air traffic started to grow they knew that airlines and maintenance organisations would need spares for the post-war surplus transport aircraft that were in use all over Europe. Spares needed tracking down, purchasing and then sold on.
Pooling their personal savings, they put up an initial share capital of 50,000 Danish Kroner (DKK), approximately US$7.000, to create the company which they call Scandinavian Air Trading Co A/S (SAT which later became the SAT in Satair). They are in a hurry; the company needs to be incorporated ready to complete its first purchase of a consignment of Pratt & Whitney R-985 piston engines from England.
They work in their own time - evenings and weekends - from the home of one of the founders for three years until their first employee – a secretary – is hired to handle correspondence and telephone calls during the day. Sales in their first year were DKK 141,033 (around US$20.000)
Fast forward to 2017 – 60 years later. That small fledging company is now Satair Group – a wholly owned and independent subsidiary of Airbus - with more than 1,200 employees worldwide, a turnover of US$1.54 billion and the vision to become the global leader in civil aircraft parts management.
During that 60 years many of the principles and practices identified by the founders as the key to a successful business have been carried forward to this day. Their pioneering spirit and can-do attitude is still the hallmark of today’s Satair Group.
Forging long-term customer and supplier relationships was one principle. Starting as a distributor for US suppliers, SAT signed a partnership with Lycoming, the American aero-engine company in 1958 that endures to this day. The distribution business has grown steadily and in importance so that today Satair Group distributes more than 500,000 different parts for more than 1,000 suppliers; many of these partnership agreements have flourished for decades, connecting suppliers and end users in a seamless supply chain.
Customer relationships have similarly flourished. SAT created early relationships with airlines in the then embryonic European package tour airline industry and today distributes parts to hundreds of airlines and MROs worldwide.
Being innovative and acting fast was another mantra. SAT introduced one of the world’s first spare parts exchange programmes for Douglas aircraft parts. Customers would hand in their own unserviceable component in exchange for an overhauled one which SAT would then get overhauled ready for the next exchange customer - a quicker, faster, more effective service.
Over the years this innovatory spirit has endured. The ground-breaking Integrated Purchasing Progamme (IPP) was launched in the early 2000s - bundling together its distribution products to offer a one-stop shop service for major OEMs who were finding it more difficult to deal with myriads of suppliers. This was followed in April 2006 by Satair becoming part of Boeing’s Integrated Material Management programme.
Today, Satair Group offers its innovative Integrated Material Service (IMS) programme to airlines and MROs under which consumable and expendable parts can be managed by Satair Group and tailored exactly to customer needs.
The company has always believed in global team work. Renamed as Satair in 1978, it expanded internationally with dedicated facilities opened in the 1980s in Atlanta and then Singapore, followed in 1995 with the China office.
The partial flotation of the company in 1997 led to string of new overseas acquisitions in France, the UK, the Far East and China and by 2010 Satair had become the world’s largest independent distributor of spares and components for the aviation industry, with a truly global reach. Despite being a Danish company, the first international board members started to be appointed.
A year later Airbus made a voluntary recommended public offer to buy all the shares of Satair and in November 2011 Satair became a 100% owned subsidiary of Airbus and was delisted from the Copenhagen stock exchange.
Three years later Satair Group was officially launched as the merged organisation between Satair A/S and Airbus Material and Logistics Management. With world-class excellence in its DNA from the early days, Satair Group is now building on its heritage to create an exciting future.