The aerospace industry in Mexico has shown an important dynamism in recent years. The country has steadily grown its export offerings in the sector, as well as has been an important recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). During the last ten years, the aerospace industry in Mexico has successfully attracted US $2.8 billion dollars in foreign capital.
The aerospace industry in Mexico had its beginnings in the 1960s but saw its growth increase exponentially since 2005. This is due to the fact that since that year original equipment manufacturers (OEM), as well as top-tier aircraft parts suppliers set up shop in the country.
Of the aerospace companies that have initiated operations in Mexico since 2005, 85% are engaged in manufacturing. Items produced in the country include propellers, rotors, landing gear, rotating blades, parts for helicopters, and spare parts for both aircraft and helicopters. The remaining 15% of companies in the aerospace industry in Mexico are involved in maintenance and repair operations (MRO) activities. According to Mexico’s Aerospace Industry Association (FEMIA), the aerospace industry in Mexico has grown at a double-digit rate over the last decade.
Aerospace industry in Mexico projections for 2020
Exports from Mexican aerospace companies reached US $5.4 billion in 2013. According to estimates made by the country’s Strategic Plan for the Aerospace Industry (2010 – 2020), which is coordinated by the Mexican Ministry of the Economy, the aerospace industry in Mexico is expected to generate exports valued at US $12.2 billion by 2020, as well as reach an annual growth rate high of 14%. By 2020, Mexico will crack the list of the top ten aerospace exporting countries in the world. In addition to Mexico, other nations on the list include the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Japan, China, Russia, and Italy. In 2016 the number of aerospace industry in Mexico firms totaled 320. It is estimated that by the year 2020 this number will increase to between 450 and 500 manufacturers. The growth of the aerospace industry in Mexico is outpacing that of the country’s automotive industry sector.
According to Eugenio Marin, a TechBA aerospace coordinator, Mexican manufacturing companies have an opportunity to develop in the aerospace industry “not only because market demand for more products exists, but also Mexico is increasingly supplying the aerospace with the technically skilled human resources needed to get the job done.”
The aerospace industry in Mexico grouped in several prominent clusters
The aerospace industry in Mexico has several geographical areas in which it has a significant presence. The largest of these “clusters” is located in the Northwestern state of Baja California del Norte. In this grouping, there are approximately eighty aerospace-related businesses. Of these 80 businesses, 61.5% come from the United States, twenty percent are Mexican companies, 11.3% are of French origin, 3.8% are of British capital, and 2.5% are from Germany. Other countries with an aerospace presence in Baja California include Switzerland and Taiwan.
Another significant aerospace industry in Mexico cluster is located in the north-central state of Chihuahua. In that entity, there are approximately forty-five plants in operation that occupy five million square feet of industrial space. Investment in the aerospace industry in Chihuahua has topped US $1.5 billion and has generated 15,000 for Mexican workers. Notable among aerospace investments in Chihuahua were those made in 2015 by Honeywell and Safran for a combined US $39 million. Chihuahua is home to twenty-five percent of the aerospace industry in Mexico, while it generates thirty-five percent of the employment in the sector.
The Mexican city and state of Queretaro is home to another large grouping of aerospace companies. Today Queretaro is home to approximately 40 companies in the aerospace industry in Mexico. As of 2014, the sector in Queretaro was valued at over US $1.2 billion. Additionally, the industry employs a total of 1,800 jobs. From 1999 to 2017, Queretaro was successful in attracting foreign investment in the aerospace industry in Mexico that totaled US $987.7 million dollars.
The state of Sonora, Mexico is also the site of another one of the most important clusters of firms in the aerospace industry in Mexico. According to the Sonora State Government, the number of aerospace and aerospace-related companies located there totals 249 businesses. The state government also reports that the aerospace industry in Mexico has created 31,000 jobs in Sonora. Among the activities engaged in by prominent companies that are located in the state are to those that conduct metal forging activities and precision machining, as well as those involved in secondary operations such as heat treatment and the application of coatings.