Blue Sky Alliance, a recent joint venture among Avio-Diepen, Interturbine Logistik and Satair, signed a deal with Airbus to serve as its "preferred provider" offering aftermarket spares including consumables, expendables and standard hardware materials through a single point of contact. Based in Hamburg, BSA aims to make it easier and less cost-intensive for Airbus operators to acquire spares and other parts for maintenance. Adopting a one-stop-shop concept, the alliance will employ a joint IT platform that facilitates the complex supply process for customers.

"Airbus has a strategy of continuing the consolidation and strengthening of its supply chain in the future," Satair CEO John Staer tells Airline Procurement. "We are a highly flexible and adaptable partner for Airbus in these efforts. It is definitely our belief that Satair is in a good position to grow its share of Airbus business in the next three to four years."

Airbus customers can enter into individual agreements with BSA to access a portfolio of 2 million part numbers from more than 3,000 key suppliers through a sole source. Customers also can designate fixed lead times and fixed competitive prices for the life of a contract based on high purchasing volumes.

"Blue Sky Alliance will stand for high-quality service, low costs and efficient management with the cooperation partner, Airbus," says Avio-Diepen President Vincent van Campen. "This will mean huge benefits for the customer. With our service we can supply the requested parts from a network of suppliers through 19 warehouses of all partners within the shortest possible time."

BSA recently opened an in-house customer support office at the Airbus Material, Logistics and Suppliers headquarters close to Hamburg Airport. Roland Voss, an air support manager with a background in economics, will serve as GM overseeing customer relationships and commercial endeavors.

"Airbus's mission is to continue deploying innovative ways of reducing aircraft operating costs by offering customized inventory and supply chain solutions," the manufacturer says. "This agreement underlines Airbus's successful strategy in providing flexible services to our customers."

It also acknowledges that the company wants to provide an integrated approach for CES sourcing in order to support airlines and MROs with a more efficient supply and procurement process. "Aligning Blue Sky Alliance with Airbus has several important operational benefits, the most significant being that the CES solution reduces material business complexity, allowing our customers to focus on their core business," it says.

While also tapping into its partners' resources, Airbus customers will achieve economies of scale that would not be possible independently. BSA plans to open warehouses in Australia, China, UAE, Singapore, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, the UK, Texas, Georgia and Kansas.

Satair has been particularly successful over the years in cultivating its relationship with Airbus. It recently reached a four-year extension agreement with the manufacturer for the supply of fasteners and other engineered products. The contract calls for product delivery via Satair's logistic solutions network to meet Airbus needs in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. "Satair will play a part in putting the world's biggest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, in the air," promises Staer. "Equally important from a business point of view is the fact that Airbus is extremely cost-focused, and we have been able to meet their demands in pricing as well as service levels."