Airbus subsidiary Satair: Delivering packaging for spare parts with the speed of airmail

When spare parts are ordered for an airplane, delivery has to be quick because every minute spent on the ground loses a huge sum of money. And if spare parts are needed, then the right packaging has to be available fast as well so that expensive equipment gets delivered undamaged. DB Schenker creates the ideal containers for replacement parts and specialized tools for Airbus’ Satair Group subsidiary in Fuhlsbüttel, where Hamburg’s airport is located. The logistics company also handles transportation box supplies, getting them to the site within just one hour in the event of an “AOG” (aircraft on ground). The total order volume comes to six to seven thousand packaging units a year.

Packaging for free-flowing replacement parts logistics

Satair Group warehouses each and every replacement part as long as at least five aircraft of a specific Airbus model are still in service, provided they were produced within the past 40 years. The airplane manufacturer requires the storage packaging for its parts to be just as long-lasting.

Verpackungen für den Transport von Spezialwerkzeugen

Satair uses packaging like this to transport the specialized tools used by Airbus. © Satair

Since the start of the year, DB Schenker has been responsible for supplying Satair Group with packaging for airframe parts and tools for Airbus. This service covers all products that you can see on the exterior of a plane, with the sole exceptions of the turbines and landing gear. The professionals at DB Schenker also make transportation boxes for the special tools that are necessary for maintenance and repair work on Airbus aircraft and which, big and small, are available for leasing by all customers.

DB Schenker also makes single-use packaging and what are known as “panel frames” for bulk orders. Satair Group uses these for the international delivery of replacement parts. The transportation boxes have to be as flexible as the group’s catalog of parts is extensive: It currently features some 120,000 part numbers.


Tailored transportation boxes from the carpentry workshop

DB Schenker runs its own woodworking facility in Schweinfurt, Bavaria, where it constructs wooden crates. It also works with two service providers to assemble packaging at their production sites. Designing prototypes is the first stage of the process, and it is one of the most challenging steps for the packaging experts.

If the boxes are suitable, series production starts. After manufacturing the containers, the company is responsible for their transportation, with boxes for airframes and tools going to suppliers and customers in every corner of the globe.

Then there are also the single-use boxes for smaller replacement parts. Satair Group produces these on-site in Hamburg. Proximity is the key issue as these have to be produced at particularly short notice and be ready for use within just two hours. If the order in question concerns what is known in the airline business as an AOG, or aircraft on ground, then there is even less time to supply the packaging – just one hour.

“#Packaging for replacement parts logistics: DB #Schenker is an innovator for @Airbus subsidiary @Satair_aviation“

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Custom Care Center: Coordinating production, delivery, and innovation

The Customer Care Center makes sure that all of these tasks are taken care of professionally, and the production and transportation of the containers are coordinated from this base. The center’s staff also work to deliver excellent customer service. Markus Linke from DB SCHENKEReuropac explains: “The aircraft manufacturer has its own specific contacts at the center. They know precisely what Satair Group’s needs are, and there’s nothing they won’t do to get the right results. These people are ‘care managers’ in every sense of the word.”

This also applies to staying on-target with KPIs, which have been defined with the customer for every model and every type of plane. These KPIs include, for example, on-site delivery deadlines of one to two hours or up to two weeks maximum. The Customer Care Center makes reliability its mission.

It also keeps track of the packaging models: In its capacity as the interface point with Airbus and Satair Group, the center regularly undertakes design optimization. “How can we improve the boxes in the future? What can we standardize? We want to supply Satair Group with good solutions to these and similar questions,” says Markus Linke, adding, “We view our role as catering to orders and improving services in equal measure.”


Markus Linke
Head of project and tender management