NEWTOWN, Conn. -- SABCA's completed its three-year restructuring plan in 2019, which successfully improved the company's overall operations. A key part of this effort, was the consolidation of SABCA's four industrial sites (Brussels, Charleroi, Lummen, and Casablanca) under a single management team. The new structure should help increase consistency, responsiveness, and efficiency throughout the operations.
Shortly thereafter, SABCA was joined with Sabena Aerospace under a new Belgium aerospace industry champion dubbed, Blueberry Group.
The new Blueberry Group sees uniting Sabena Aerospace and SABCA as the laying of a foundation of a Belgium centric aerospace ecosystem. Together the two firms now share complementary activities, market knowledge and an optimized industrial organization. SABCA, which specializes in manufacturing high-tech components for the aviation and space industry and in military aircraft MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul), strongly complements Sabena Aerospace’s offering, which is an international MRO player supporting passengers and cargo airlines and air forces in the maintenance of their fleets.
While combined under Blueberry, each company will maintain its independence with each firm being led by its own management team and business plan. The new structure was quickly put the test as the COVID-19 pandemic engulfed the world in 2020. Here the operations are aiming to weather crisis thanks to the diversity of the commercial and military markets.
While commercial aviation has been hit hard by the crisis, defense has remained stable. In the defense sphere, SABCA is involved in the maintenance and overhaul of several aircraft, including the Mirage 5, Northrop F5, Fairchild-Republic A-10, Lockheed Martin F-16, and several helicopters. In fact, maintenance and overhaul work generates about 30 percent of the company's revenue. Looking ahead, Belgium has opted to procure the F-35, SABCA will share in any coproduction agreements.
The next few years will not doubt be difficult as commercial aerospace slowly rebounds. Nevertheless, to its credit, SABCA, has enough diversity to see it through this difficult period.