Aerospace Manufacturing in Mexico Reduced Risk. Reduced Cost.
AEROSPACE INDUSTRY IN MEXICO
Aerospace manufacturing in Mexico has shown significant dynamism in recent years, exports, and other relevant variables such as employment, investment, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) show above-average growth rates when compared to the rest of the country’s manufacturing sectors.
While there are companies that engage in aerospace manufacturing in Mexico that have a history of operation in Mexico for more than 20 years, it is from 2005 that the industry began to take off in earnest. This was mainly due to the arrival of aircraft companies, known as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), as well as world-class supplier companies. These organizations represent world leaders that found in Mexico a location and the conditions to invest and maintain their high standards of safety and quality.
Among the main features that make the country attractive for aerospace investment are its geographical position in proximity to the United States; trade agreements that afford access to large markets: experience in other high-tech industrial sectors such as automotive, electrical, and electronics; and an educated and qualified workforce.
From the standpoint of the country’s federal government, aerospace manufacturing in Mexico is considered strategic, not only because of the dynamism that it has shown and the generation high-quality of jobs but also because it is a sector that is linked to technological development and innovation. This represents a significant opportunity to scale towards higher value-added activities and technological content.
While there are operations of aerospace firms that have been established in the country, in addition to manufacturing, they also include engineering and development activities. When considering the aerospace industry in Mexico, the challenge is to provide the conditions for attracting cutting-edge or higher-tech projects, as well as expanding the local supplier base to strengthen the activities and integration into the global value chain of the aerospace industry.
In recent years, the number of manufacturing plants and engineering centers, as well as support entities that have been established in country have tripled. They have increased from 109 in 2006 to more than 350 today. World-class companies have been established in the country, which has allowed the formation of important industrial conglomerates in various regions, mainly in the northern and central parts of the nation.
By the number of companies, jobs, investment, and synergy that exists between the various industry players, five main clusters of aerospace manufacturing in Mexico have been identified. They are located in Baja California, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Querétaro, and Sonora. Each of these clusters has its characteristic profile, developed from the capabilities that were originally present in these regions and their experience in other sectors such as metalworking, automotive, electrical, or electronics. The countries that have invested the most in these Mexican aerospace clusters are from the United States, Canada, France, and Spain.
Below is a brief description of the clusters that are involved in aerospace manufacturing in Mexico.
There are about 250 companies in the state’s aerospace industry ecosystem. They are segmented into different businesses such as the production of parts and components, drones, satellites, maintenance and repair of aircraft, and logistics, among others. Collectively, companies operating in the aerospace industry in Baja California employ approximately 30,000 workers.
Another cluster of aerospace manufacturing in Mexico is in the northern state of Chihuahua. Chihuahua is home to forty-five industry manufacturing plants that export US $1.5 billion dollars’ worth of finished products. Additionally, the companies that are manufacturing in the aerospace manufacturing industry in Chihuahua together have generated approximately 15,000 direct labor positions. The state has five companies: Honeywell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Bell Helicopter, and EZ Air that have developed a partnership with Brazil’s Embraer to manufacturing high-precision machined parts, harnesses, seats, aero parts, slides, rafts, heat-treated parts, and turbines.
Today the aerospace manufacturing cluster in the state of Nuevo León is comprised of twenty companies. These companies are involved in the manufacturing of components; maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO); and the precision machining of parts. Additionally, aerospace manufacturing in Nuevo León includes aircraft forgings, metal manufacturing of sub-assemblies for aerostructures, thermal and surface treatments, and mechanical and non-destructive testing.
The state of Querétaro is the fourth most popular destination for aerospace investment worldwide and, over the last ten years, has received 50% of all foreign direct investment in the Mexican aerospace industry. Querétaro stands out amongst other aerospace manufacturing in Mexico clusters as the location of the only industry dedicated to the aerospace industry in the country. The economic cluster is comprised of an ecosystem that employs approximately 8,500 Mexican laborers.
There currently 34 aerospace manufacturers in the northwestern state of Sonora. This represents a 100% increase over the last ten years. The cluster is a center for the manufacture of aerospace engine parts and components, and it employs almost 20 thousand individuals. A large number of the aerospace companies in Sonora are located in the adjacent cities of Guaymas and Empalme. Recent research shows that 100% of the aerospace manufacturers in the state of Sonora do so under the Mexican shelter business model.
Aerospace manufacturing in Mexico goals for 2025
In recent years, the aerospace industry in Mexico has maintained a growing foreign trade dynamic. The volume of exports represents a good indicator for monitoring the development of the industry. Over the next few years, the growing dynamics of the sector are expected to continue. Among the goals set by the Ministry of the Economy and the aerospace sector for 2025 are to place the country within the top 10 international export sites; export more than $12 billion of aerospace goods; have a strong index of the industry’s job base and foster its growth, and maintain the sectoral added value of above 20%.
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