Over the last several decades, Mexico has managed to make itself one of the main manufacturing centers in North America. This is due to a number of comparative advantages that it has in its favor. These include a privileged geographic location, an open and pro-business economy, an important network of free trade agreements, macroeconomic stability, abundant energy and natural resources, and a skilled and competitively priced workforce. Mexico has become a leader in the automotive, medical device and electronics industries. Additionally, over the last decade, productivity in aerospace manufacturing in Mexico has taken off.
At present, the aerospace manufacturing sector is one of the world’s most dynamic. This is because there has been a global increase in demand for aircraft. Between 2012 and 2016, passenger air travel traffic grew at an average annual pace of 5.3%. In addition to this, airfreight traffic increased 3% on average during the same period. In 2016, shipments reached 34.5 million pounds. This figure is up from 30.7 pounds in 2011. As it is now a global player in the industry, these figures represent an opportunity for growth in aerospace manufacturing in Mexico.
Aerospace Manufacturing in Mexico
Currently, there are over 300 companies in the aerospace manufacturing in Mexico industry. Of these companies, 80% are in manufacturing, while the remaining 20% offer design and engineering services, as well as services in the area of MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations).
The largest concentration of aerospace manufacturers in Mexico is located in the north of the country. Specifically, aerospace manufacturing in Mexico is highly consolidated in the northwestern state of Baja California. The industry has had a presence in the entity for the last forty years. Currently, there are 76 aerospace companies located in Baja California, many of these facilities are in the business of producing fuselage systems and power plants.
Sonora is another northern state in which aerospace manufacturing in Mexico is thriving. There are more than fifty manufacturers with a presence in this region. Many are focused a significant number of them concentrate on producing blades and components for turbines. Sonora stands out because it carries out some activities that are highly technical and specialized. These include die casting, lost wax and sand molding, as well as thermal and surface treatment. Sonora also has an aerospace manufacturing in Mexico strength in the area of research and development. The Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace (IMAAS) has partnered with private sector firms to make progress in this area.
Chihuahua has more than thirty aerospace manufacturing in Mexico companies, as well as 37 suppliers that have global aerospace industry standards certification. Additionally, it is home to five original equipment assemblers. These companies form an aerospace cluster that is involved in five major lines of work. These include manufacturing and assembly, design and engineering, as well as in maintenance, repair and overhaul, or MRO. Among the items produced in Chihuahua are fuselages, aerostructures, motors, electrical wiring, high precision machine parts, motors, and interiors and seating.
In the Central Region of Mexico, the state of Queretaro is the big player in the aerospace manufacturing in Mexico industry. Over the last several years Queretaro has been the recipient of the largest amount of aerospace foreign direct investment (FDI). The state employs a strategy in which companies, universities, and government have teamed up to promote the area’s growth in the industry. Queretaro is home to a cluster of 25 manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as three maintenance and repair companies, five design and engineering centers, three innovation and development centers and the nation’s only university with an aeronautical focus.
A global aerospace industry player
One area in which aerospace manufacturing in Mexico is advanced is in the production of engines. Activities performed in Mexico include the design, manufacture, and maintenance of parts. Many international companies that have come to Mexico with their aerospace investment have found that the country has the necessary talent in place to take on high-value projects.
Today Mexico is a global player in the aerospace sector. In the last 10 years, the industry has experienced a growth rate of 17.2% and has gone from tenth place to sixth place of countries that export to the aeronautical industry in the United States. Over the last five years, industry exports have grown at a rate of 20% per annum.
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