APG Network is the world’s leading platform for airline services. With over 100 offices covering more than 170 countries, APG is the world's largest general sales agent (GSA) network, partnering with over 200 airlines to help them optimize revenue flows.
APG Network is the global ‘go to’ service provider for air carriers and it offers cost reductions via outsourcing solutions for passenger and cargo sales, marketing, fare filing, customer support as well as settlement plan services, interline, and code-share solutions. President and CEO of Paris-based APG Inc., Sandrine de Saint Sauveur has an impressive track record in the field of commercial and distribution services for airlines; over the last 25 years she has helped grow the business of the APG Group. The executive loves “meeting people from different cultures. My clients are from everywhere. Every time I go to a different country to visit clients and explain to them what we do – I just love it.”
Working in a complex industry
As the head of APG Network’s commercial arm, Sandrine de Saint Sauveur is responsible for the company’s product portfolio and commercial development. “There are about a thousand airlines in the world; we skip the 100-200 biggest airlines and focus on the rest. We work in a complex industry in which the planes and distributors are scattered all around the globe and my vision is that APG should be in the middle and have products that constitute a bridge between the various actors of the sector. I always tell my airline clients that I am not going to bring a huge amount per distributor, but I am going to bring bits and pieces with which you can pay the salaries of your employees.”
Over the years, APG has developed its own platform. It can now target larger airlines “because everyone understands the need to diversify the channels of distribution. First you have to find the niche you want to offer your customers and then you will find the right customer,” she points out.
Teaching is beautiful
Four years ago, Sandrine de Saint Sauveur was promoted to the rank of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor at the suggestion of the then French Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron. “I was really surprised. Of course, I was also very honored! I staged a little ceremony of accepting the recognition to my kids. In my speech, I explained to them that me traveling so much gives them freedom and an open mind. I believe that the greatest gifts you can give to your kids are freedom and an open mind. If you have an open mind, you can make it anywhere.”
Sandrine de Saint Sauveur gives lectures at ENAC (Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile – Civil Aviation School) in France as preparing a generation of future professionals is close to her heart. “My students will be pilots or will work in engineering. They have about a week to learn about commercial distribution when I tell them about the GSA business, which is ruled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). I explain to them what we do to grow a business, thus teaching them the skills necessary for a corporate career or running a business. I also tell them that what they learn in school will never be enough, they always need to respect the person they are going to meet and never make haste judgements. I also want them to be open and think outside the box. For example, if you had to fill up an aircraft flying from London to the Philippines and you are in Hungary, what would you do?” The executive is keen to find young people with open minds and visions of what they want to do with their lives. “For me, teaching is the most beautiful job ever.”
Honesty, transparency and trustworthiness are the business values that she deems the most important and always encourages her employees to follow. “If you don't know something simply say so! One always needs to learn and follow the principle that the client is right. Of course, I am not saying that I succeed all the time in complying with these principles.”
She recalls two things that she learnt from her father. “He said that whoever you meet in life, always look at the best side of that person and make sure that side is shining. That is how I treat everybody. When hiring someone, I focus on the qualities that make them shine. The second thing my father told me was that in business you have to learn to stop sometimes, look at the river and see which way the water is flowing. I only understood this two years ago. Now, I know what he meant: if you want to manage and get things done, if you want to grow, if you want to get people on your side, if you want to achieve something, you have to stop and just observe things.
THE HUNGARIAN MEMBER
APG Hungary Ltd. joined the APG Network in 1998, becoming the first member from Eastern Europe. The Hungarian APG company, just as the APG Network and all APG companies around the globe, is more than just a general sales agent (GSA). APG takes a holistic approach to airline distribution, offering not only representation but also interline e-ticketing solutions, fare filing, BSP (billing and settlement plan) support services as well as other airline distribution solutions, all aimed at maximizing an airline's revenue potential. In addition to international trade responsibilities, APG Hungary serves 15 airline clients of the Network on the Hungarian market.