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For other uses, see SATS (disambiguation).
Public (SGX: S58)
Industry Ground handling, Airline catering services, Airport security
Predecessor Singapore Airport Terminal Services Limited
Founded 1972
Key people
Edmund Cheng (Chairman)
Alex Hungate (President and CEO)[1]
Website SATS Homepage

SATS Ltd., commonly abbreviated as SATS (Simplified Chinese:新翔集团有限公司) is the chief ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider at Singapore Changi Airport. SATS controls about 80% of Changi airport's ground handling and catering business.

SATS runs ground handling and airline catering operations at nearly 44 airports across Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Besides its operations in Singapore, SATS has also established a network in Asia through joint ventures in China, Hong Kong, Macau, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Maldives.

SATS subsidiaries includes SATS Airport Services, SATS Catering, SATS Security Services, Aero Laundry & Linen Services, Aerolog Express, Country Foods Pte Ltd. and Singapore Food Industries.



The history of SATS can be traced back to the very beginning of commercial aviation in Singapore. In the early years, ground-handling services were provided by a department of Malayan Airways, which became Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) in 1967. Five years later, MSA ceased operations and paved the way for two new entities — Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Malaysian Airline System (MAS).

As SIA concentrated on its core business of running an airline, the establishment of SATS as a separate, yet wholly owned subsidiary company evolved naturally. On 15 December 1972, SATS was formally corporatised with 1,673 staff. By the end of the first year, staff numbers rose to 2,000 while gross revenue increased by 25 per cent.

Early history[edit]

In 1977, SATS opened an airfreight terminal at Paya Lebar Airport capable of handling 160,000 tonnes of cargo a year.

Four years later, in 1980, SATS made the move to Singapore's new Changi Airport after investing S$147 million in a new headquarters building, a new inflight catering centre, which at that time was the largest single-building inflight kitchen in the world, and two new airfreight terminals.

By the mid-1980s, SATS was able to handle about 20,000 passengers a day at Changi Airport, a 60 per cent increase over the 12,700 passengers handled daily at Paya Lebar Airport in 1980. Cargo also registered double-digit growth rates.

In 1985, SATS was restructured into four companies so that it could better manage demand for its services. Singapore Airport Terminal Services became the parent company and subsidiaries were formed out of the four operating divisions: Apron Services, Cargo Services, Passenger Services and Catering.

In 1989, SATS added two new airfreight terminals and invested in new passenger handling equipment for Changi Airport's Terminal 2. This increased its passenger handling capacity to more than 20 million passengers a year.


In 1992, three companies within SATS — Apron, Cargo and Passenger Services — were merged to form a new company, SATS Airport Services (SAS). This consolidation was designed to improve co-ordination and communication, and strengthen the SATS Group's competitiveness.

Over the next four years, an express courier centre, capable of handling 40,000 tonnes of cargo a year, was opened along with the S$215 million Airfreight Terminal 5, the S$172 million Inflight Catering Centre 2 and a S$40 million SATS Maintenance Centre.

At the end of the 1999-2000 financial year, SATS owned and operated five airfreight terminals with a combined handling capacity of 1.3 million tonnes of cargo a year and two catering centres capable of producing 27 million meals a year.

Since the move to Changi in 1981, SATS has invested more than S$1 billion in state-of-the-art facilities. A second Express Courier Centre for partner DHL Worldwide Express, costing S$30 million, was completed in December 2001.

In the first quarter of 2001, a sixth airfreight terminal costing S$270 million with a handling capacity of 800,000 tonnes of cargo per annum commenced operations.

2003 saw the launch of SATS' web-based system, CargoNet, to further complement its cargo tracking service. It also upgraded the materials handling system in Airfreight Terminals 1 to 4 to improve cargo handling efficiency and equipment serviceability.

In July 2005, SATS launched a range of new products and service upgrades.

On 2 January 2008, SATS sold the Express Courier Centre Two (ECC2) to DHL Express.[2]

1st re-branding exercise[edit]

SATS underwent a re-branding exercise in Apr 2007, adopting a completely new brand identity after bearing the SIA ‘bird' logo for many decades.


On Dec 2010, SATS Ltd completed the acquisition of Japan Airlines International's entire stake of 50.7 per cent in TFK Corporation. The 7.8 billion yen (S$122 million) purchase, was fully satisfied in cash and funded through debt through its wholly owned subsidiary SATS Investments Pte Ltd (SIPL). Following the completion, SIPL now owns 504,195 shares in TFK and has voting rights of 53.8 per cent.

On 25 October 2011, SATS announced that it will be selling Daniels Group to Hain Celestial Group.[3]

On 23 December 2011, the SATS-Creuers consortium (a joint venture between SATS Ltd. (SATS) and Creuers del Port de Barcelona S.A. (Creuers)) won the bid to manage the new Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. SATS-Creuers beat out competition from the Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC), the incumbent cruise port operator in Singapore, which operates the existing facilities at HarbourFront and Jurong Port.[4]

2nd re-branding exercise[edit]

SATS used to be part of the Singapore Airlines Group and was divested from SIA on 1 Sep 2009.[5]

On 08 Jan 2010, it unveiled a new uniform for its front-line staff at the Singapore Changi Airport. The uniform change is SATS’ eleventh since 1973.

The company also changed its name from "Singapore Airport Terminal Services Limited (Simplified Chinese:新加坡机场航站服务有限公司)" to "SATS Ltd. (Simplified Chinese:新翔集团有限公司)" on 30 July 2010.

On 7 Jun 2011, SATS unveiled a new brand identity. The new monolithic brand identity flows with its global aspiration and commitment to customers with a red background symbolising warmth with customer relations. The group was initially engaged in ground handling and airline catering in Singapore. It has since transformed itself into Asia's largest gateway services and aviation food solutions network and has operations at 35 airports in 10 countries. SATS hopes that the new brand identity can help to raise its service standards and adding value to its partners.

Gateway Services[edit]

SATS' Gateway Services encompass Passenger Services, Ramp and Baggage Handling, Cargo Handling, Aviation Security, Aircraft Interior Cleaning and Cargo Delivery and Management.

SATS Security Services[edit]

SATS Security Services provides security services for aviation-related activities at the Singapore Changi Airport.

SATS HK[edit]

SATS acquired 100% of Menzies Aviation (Hong Kong) Ltd (MAHK) for approximately HK$18 million (approximately S$3.3 million) on 11 November 2008. Following the acquisition, it was renamed as SATS HK Limited on 7 April 2009.

SATS HK is one of the four ground handling agents at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). It is also one of the four licensed ramp handlers at HKIA. SATS HK provides passenger and ramp handling services including baggage handling, load control and flight operations to 11 airlines. Amongst its key customers are Federal Express, Air Canada, Orient Thai and Asiana Airlines.[6]

Asia-Pacific Star[edit]

In March 2009, SATS launched a low-cost ground handling services under a new wholly owned subsidiary, Asia-Pacific Star. Together with the low-cost inflight catering unit, SATS serves the growing low-cost segment of the airline market.

Affinity Membership[edit]

The “Affinity” Membership, by Singapore Airport Terminal Services Ltd (SATS), offers passenger preferential check-in services at their specially designated “Affinity” check-in counters and the use of SATS Premier Club lounges available in all terminals of Singapore Changi Airport as well as the lifestyle “Rainforest” lounge in Terminal 1, regardless of the class of travel.

Coolport @ Changi[edit]

On 18 August 2009, SATS announced its plans to launch Coolport @ Changi, Singapore’s first on-airport perishables handling centre, in mid-2010. Costing approximately S$16 million to build, Coolport @ Changi will be the first dedicated on-airport facility in Singapore for handling terminal and transit perishables cargo within the Free Trade Zone. Located within SATS Airfreight Terminal 2, Coolport @ Changi will have an annual operating capacity of around 250,000 tonnes, with scope for expansion from the current 8,000 square metres to 14,000 square metres. Coolport @ Changi will be the first facility in Singapore comprising three multi-tiered zones with different temperatures ranging from -28C to 18C. It will be able to handle a range of perishables cargo such as live seafood and ornamental fish, fresh produce, meats, flowers and pharmaceutical products including vaccines.

Services include Warehousing and Distribution, Live Tanking, Inventory Management & Control, and Ripening facilities. Coolport @ Changi will be designed in accordance with internationally recognised Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines for food safety and in compliance with the highest international standards of cold chain integrity. It also aims to be the first Halal-certified air cargo hub for perishables in Asia Pacific.[citation needed]

Food Solutions[edit]

SATS' "Food solutions" comprises in-flight catering, food logistics, industrial catering as well as chilled and frozen food manufacturing, and airline linen and laundry.

TajSATS Air Catering Ltd[edit]

On 25 September 2001, SATS set up a joint venture with Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces (part of the Tata Group) to provides in-flight catering as well as management of airport lounges in India.[7][8]

Country Foods[edit]

On 24 July 2008, SATS acquired all remaining shares from the minority shareholders of Country Foods Pte Ltd (Country Foods). On completion of the sale and purchase, Country Foods became a wholly owned subsidiary of SATS.

Country Foods is in the business of manufacturing and supplying of chilled and frozen processed foods and ready-to-eat meals to fast food restaurants and café chains, convenience stores as well as other food establishments and institutions. Besides the Singapore operations, the Company also owns a 70 percent stake in a joint venture company in Macau called Country Foods Macau, Limited (Country Foods Macau), which supplies to casino, resort and restaurant operators.

Jewels artisan chocolate[edit]

On 19 December 2009, despite the slow economic recovery and lower consumer spending, SATS opened its first artisan chocolate shop named Jewels Artisan Chocolate in the new Orchard Central.[citation needed]

Singapore Food Industries[edit]

SATS completed the acquisition of Singapore Food Industries (SFI), an integrated food logistics and catering supplier with operations in China, UK and Australia, in Apr 2009. The three core business of SFI are food distribution and preparation, manufacturing & processing, and abattoir & hog auction. Following the acquisition, SFI was delisted and became a wholly owned subsidiary of SATS.

In Mar 2010, SFI clinched a S$5.5 million catering services contract to provide meals at the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The contract to Singapore Food Industries (SFI) includes the proposal for a meal ordering system and management of all meal requirements at the Youth Olympic Village (YOV) and the games venues. It also covers the provision of meals for up to 7,000 young athletes, games officials and volunteers at the YOV.

In May, SFI entered into a JV agreement to set up a modern, integrated pig farm in China Yongji County, Jilin Province over six years. The integrated pig farm (IPF) aims to provide an integrated end-to-end supply chain, from feed mill and breeding to slaughtering and meat processing. The IPF will have an eventual annual production of 1 million pigs and which will enable SFI to diversify its sources of pork supply as it plans to market and distribute the meat productions in Singapore as well as in China and other overseas markets.

Service Culture[edit]

In January 2010, SATS launched the ONE! Service initiative to replace its service quality campaign xFactor. Through the ONE! Service, which supposedly stands for "Outstanding aNd Exceptional Service", it hopes to drive a positive service culture amongst its frontline staff at Singapore Changi Airport.

xFactor was launched in September 2005 as part of SATS' quality service initiatives.[citation needed]


SATS has been described as the third most-admired company in Singapore, in a poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal Asia in September 2008. SATS was also ranked second for the quality of its services and for corporate reputation, and placed fourth for innovation.[9]


  1. ^ "Sats CEO to retire; banking veteran named as successor". The Straits Times. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "SATS SELLS EXPRESS COURIER CENTRE TWO TO DHL for S$38m" (PDF). SATS Ltd. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "SATS sells Daniels Group for S$304m". Channel News Asia. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "SATS-Creuers to operate S'pore's Intl Cruise Terminal in joint venture". Straits Times. 23 December 2011. Retrieved December 2011. 
  5. ^ Nisha Ramchandani (May 18, 2009). "SIA CEO defends divestment of SATS". Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Singapore Airport Terminal Services Limited and The Indian Hotels Company Limited set up Indian joint venture company for airline catering business" (PDF) (Press release). SATS. September 25, 2001. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ "TajSATS Air Catering Ltd Company Profile". Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Asia's 200 Most-Admired Companies: Singapore -- Reader Survey" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 

External links[edit]