SABCA was founded in 1920 with the task of designing and building aircraft for the emerging air transport in Belgium. The plant was located on the Haren airport, located in the suburbs of Brussels.

Several original designs were put on the market by the company before WW2, in parallel with the production under licence of numerous civil and military aircraft.

After the war, SABCA became a major partner in most Belgian military aircraft production and upgrade programs like the Hunter, F-84, F-104G, Dassault Mirage 5, Lockheed F-16, Agusta 109 Helicopter, etc… A new plant was opened in 1955 on the Charleroi airport for that purpose.
In a move towards diversification in the field of high technologies, SABCA was among the early participants in the European space programs and has since more than 40 years designed and manufactured major elements of the European Spacelab and large parts of the Ariane and Vega launchers.

On the civil aircraft side, SABCA had a slow start with the production of the outer wings of the Fokker 27/50 family, the flaps of the Dassault Mercure, the flaps again for the VFW-614 and other more or less successful projects. However, the civil aircraft activity really took a boost in 1989 when a first risk-sharing contract was signed with Airbus. Since that day, SABCA has been selected as a partner for all new Airbus programs, including the giant A380, the A400M and the new A350 XWB. SABCA also designs and produces metallic and composite subassemblies for the Dassault (900/2000/7X and SMS) and Gulfstream business jets programs.

In 1992, SABCA moved a step forward with the creation of a fully-owned subsidiary, SABCA Limburg nv, specialized in the production of high-tech composites.

In 2012, SABCA proposes "low cost" solutions through its participation in the Moroccan subsidiary ASM Aero.