Photo: Mexico Aerospace Sector Growing
“Made in Mexico” has a familiar ring when associated with the Mexican auto industry. However, if the Mexican government reaches its goal, Mexico will be exporting $12 billion in aircraft and parts by 2020.
Mexico’s blossoming aerospace industry has grown without much outside notice, but major clusters of companies have put down roots in northern and central Mexico – in cities such as Chihuahua and Queretaro. For instance, 30 foreign companies now have aerospace operations in Queretaro, which has a population of 1.8 million.
Interestingly, Mexico doesn’t supply its own defense needs or produce entire aircraft. However, nearly all the necessary components can already be manufactured in Mexico. Most believe the country will design its own aircraft in the near future. This notion is supported by the fact that Mexico graduates three times more engineers than the U.S. Unfortunately, there is a lack of technicians – something the foreign companies quickly discovered. However, as an example of how the Mexican authorities are supporting the growth of the aerospace industry – the national university in Queretaro set up a training program to counteract the technician shortage.
Currently, 31,000 people work in the aerospace sector in Mexico compared to 335,000 in auto manufacturing and parts. The goal is to add 80,000 jobs in the industry by 2020. The future is bright since aerospace companies worldwide are having trouble meeting the demands of the major airlines. Furthermore, industry insiders expect a healthy market for business jets worldwide.
For now, the international companies will continue to turn to the Mexican manufacturing companies to provide high quality components at low cost by taking advantage of the country’s modern industrial capabilities and modest labor costs. This will allow more airplanes to be delivered on time and on budget while also avoiding the current backlogs hurting the industry.