Air traffic control

Our Journey

Every journey has a beginning

SATS is proud to be a home-grown company, tracing our roots back to the very beginning of commercial aviation in Singapore, marked by the inaugural flight that took off from Singapore Kallang Airport in 1947. 

Over the next few decades, we grew in tandem with our young city-state as Singapore transformed itself into a global business and aviation hub. 

Relocating to Changi Airport in 1981, we continued working hard to expand our network, strengthen competitiveness, and grow operational capabilities together with industry partners like Singapore Airlines.

Overseas joint ventures (JVs) paved the way for strategic new business opportunities while enabling us to establish ourselves in new markets. At the same time, we diversified our business, expanding into new non-aviation industry segments such as institutional catering and cruise terminal management. 

As a brand and a business, we are proud to have come a long way and we could not have achieved what we have without the passion and dedication of our people. 

Looking ahead, we are committed to building a sustainable future for our customers and communities, adopting a technology-driven, people-led approach as we incorporate key sustainability goals into our business development. 

  • 1947 - 1970s

    The Early Years

  • 1980s -1990s

    Growth at home and Abroad

  • 2010 - 2018

    Momentum and Maturity

  • 2019~

    Towards a Sustainable Future

June 1947

The beginnings of ground operations and inflight catering in Singapore

Ground handling services and inflight catering started with Singapore’s first commercial aviation operations at Kallang Airport. The first inflight kitchen was established with a production volume of 200 meals a day.

August 1955

Relocation to Paya Lebar Airport

December 1972

SATS established as a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines was formed and SATS was established as a separate, wholly-owned subsidiary of the airline to provide efficient inflight catering and ground services at Paya Lebar Airport.

August 1977

First Airfreight Terminal

We opened our first airfreight terminal at Paya Lebar Airport, with a handling capacity of 160,000 tonnes a year.

July 1981

Relocated to Changi Airport

We relocated our operations to Changi Airport along with the opening of the new airport. A new inflight catering centre and two new airfreight terminals were built to meet the thriving demand.

April 1988

Formed our first overseas venture

We formed one of our first overseas ventures in Maldives, Maldives Inflight Catering, where we tapped on our expertise to design and build inflight kitchens for Male International Airport.

March 1989

SATS with 2 New Airfreight Terminals

SATS started the construction of two new air freight terminals, increasing its cargo handling capacity to a total of 800,000 tonnes a year.

We also invested in new ground service equipment, catering to the opening of Changi Airport Terminal 2 which would increase the handling capacity of the airport to more than 20 million passengers a year.

January 1990

Building our network in Asia

We strengthened our competitiveness by restructuring our operations and opening new airfreight terminals, an inflight kitchen and a maintenance centre, to meet the demand for our services. At the same time, we ventured into China, Vietnam, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

January 1992

Formed SATS Airport Services (SAS)

January 1994

Formed JV – BAIK (China)

January 1995

Formed JV – BGS (China)

March 1996

Growing our operational capabilities

Over the next four years, SATS built an express courier centre, capable of handling 40,000 tonnes of cargo a year. We also added Airfreight Terminal 5 which cost $215 million to build, along with the $172 million Inflight Catering Centre 2 and $40 million SATS Maintenance Centre.

January 1997

Formed JV – EGSC (Taiwan)

January 1998

Formed JV – AAT (Hong Kong) and MacroAsia Catering Services, Inc (Philippines)

May 2000

Listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX)

On 12 May 2000, SATS was listed on the SGX mainboard. Our first year as publicly listed company saw a 9.3% increase in net earnings. The listing also presented opportunities for our staff to participate in the equity of the company.

July 2000

Continued Service Excellence

By 2000, SATS was serving 22 million passengers yearly at Changi Airport. We were operating five airfreight terminals with a combined handling capacity of 1.3 million tonnes per annum and two catering centres capable of producing 27 million meals a year.

Our devotion to staff training (averaging 28 training hours per staff) saw 23 staff being recognised by the Prime Minister as Model Workers of the Year. In addition, 149 staff were winners of the Excellent Service Awards organised by the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board.

April 2001

Increasing the scale of our cargo operations

A sixth airfreight terminal commenced operations. Costing $270 million, it increased our total cargo handling capacity to slightly more than two million tonnes a year, anchoring Changi Airport’s position as Asia’s foremost air cargo hub.

June 2001

Formed Joint Venture (JV) – Aerolog Express (Singapore) and JV – TajSATS (India)

July 2003

Record Breaking Service Excellence

A record-breaking number of 559 staff won the Excellent Service Award in the year.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) also awarded our Customer Service Officer Cecilia Estrop the coveted national Service Personality of the Year Award.

January 2004

Formed JV – PT Jas (Indonesia)

November 2005

Launched new brand identity

We launched a new brand identity “One With You”, which focused on providing world-class service to passengers and airlines.

October 2007

First in the World to Serve Airbus A380

On 25 October 2007, SATS was the first ground handling company in the world to handle the new Airbus A380 superjumbo on its inaugural flight from Singapore to Sydney.

August 2008

New business acquisitions

In August 2008, we acquired Country Foods, followed by Menzies Aviation (Hong Kong) Ltd (renamed SATS HK Ltd) two months later in October

April 2009

Acquired Singapore Food Industries

The acquisition enabled us to grow and scale up our non-aviation food business.

September 2009

Divested from Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines (SIA) divested 81% stake in SATS, allowing SIA’s shareholders to have direct ownership of SATS.

April 2010

Formed JV – AISATS (India)

April 2010

Awarded the Tech Ramp Licence at Changi Airport

August 2010

Renamed to SATS Ltd.

We renamed ourselves from Singapore Airport Terminal Services Limited to SATS Ltd. This was to better reflect the Group’s business and focus.

November 2010

Opened SATS Coolport

We opened SATS Coolport, Asia’s first and largest on-airport perishables handling facility, dedicated to end-to-end cold-chain handling of temperature-sensitive perishable and pharmaceutical airfreight for import, export and transhipment.

December 2010

Acquired a majority stake in TFK Corporation (Japan), marking our first foray into the Japanese airline catering market.

June 2011

New brand image

We launched our new brand identity and logo, marking our efforts to build a unified, consistent brand image across our Food Solutions and Gateway Services businesses.

May 2012

Cruise Terminal Management

Won the bid to manage and operate the new Marina Bay Cruise Centre (MBCCS) with Creuers del Port de Barcelona, significantly extending its gateway capabilities. In May, SATS-Creuers Cruise Services commenced operations at MBCCS.

May 2013

Master caterer for Singapore Sports Hub

We formed JV company SATS Delaware North with global hospitality giant Delaware North Company to provide catering and hospitality services at Singapore Sports Hub.

March 2014

World’s first centre of excellence for independent validators in pharmaceutical handling

SATS Coolport was certified by International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the world’s first Centre of Excellence in Pharmaceutical Handling. We are now able to train, advise and support industry stakeholders to meet the rigorous requirements of the pharmaceutical industry.

June 2015

Power up

In June 2015, we formed a joint venture for our food distribution business – SATS BRF Food. The same year, we formed a joint venture with global food giant BRF GmbH to process meat and manufacture branded food products in Singapore. SATS was included as one of the 30 component stocks in Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index (STI).

January 2016

Feeding and Connecting Asia

Feb – Completed acquisition for Brahim’s Airline Catering Holdings

Mar – Formed JV – Oman Air SATS Cargo (now Transom SATS Cargo)

Apr – Formed JV – DFASS SATS, enabling entry into the fast-growing travel retail market

Aug – Won the bid to become the first international cargo handler in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sep – Formed JV – SATS Yihai Kerry Kunshan Food (now defunct)

February 2017

Singapore Food Industries was rebranded to SATS Food Services

December 2017

Formed JV - Mumbai Cargo Service Center

January 2018

Completed acquisition of GTR, a joint venture with AirAsia

November 2018

Building central kitchen capabilities

In line with SATS’ vision to build a network of central kitchens to better serve customers in the fast-casual restaurant and aviation segments, SATS entered into an agreement to build and operate a central kitchen in Tianjin’s Hexiwu Town Food Zone in China.

January 2019

Formed two JVs at Beijing Daxing International Airport

SATS entered into two joint ventures with Capital Airports Holding Company Limited (CAH) to provide ground and cargo handling services, and CAH and Juneyao Airlines Co., Ltd. to provide inflight catering and other related services at China’s second international airport in its capital city.

March 2019

Investing in new food technologies

On 11 March 2019, SATS unveiled a S$25 million kitchen with food technologies that can preserve nutritional qualities and optimise taste while extending shelf life.

September 2019

SATS accelerates digital integrated supply chain through acquisition of food distribution JV

SATS buys SATS BRF Food Pte Ltd (now known as Country Foods Pte Ltd) to scale its distribution business and enhance efficiencies in its integrated supply chain for customers across its network.

January 2020

SATS wins Riyadh cargo terminal concession

This 25-year cargo terminal concession in King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) marks the second cargo operation in Saudi Arabia for SATS, establishing a quality cargo corridor in the Middle East linking Oman, Dammam, and Riyadh.

March 2020

SATS acquires aviation food innovator Monty’s Bakehouse

By combining its culinary expertise with Monty’s Bakehouse product and packaging innovation, SATS plans to enhance its food solutions for aviation customers and support growth into new customer segments. SATS will also work with its wholly-owned subsidiary to develop sustainable food packaging solutions to fulfil its 2030 goals.