The emerging aerospace sector in Guanajuato is comprised of 12 companies that have created approximately 300 direct labor positions to date.
At a well-attended Aerospace Summit 4.0conference that took place in Guanajuato at the beginning of December 2021, Óscar Rodríguez, president of the Bajío Aerospace Cluster, explained that, at present, there are 12 companies in the fledgling aerospace sector in Guanajuato are the source of 300 direct jobs. Furthermore, these companies are the source of economic activity that accounted for 15 million dollars a year in exports in 2019 and 5 million in 2020. However, the decline in activity in the aerospace sector in Guanajuato in the latter year was due to a pause imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the Boeing 737MAX program and the coronavirus pandemic.
The objective of the Aerospace Summit 4.0was to present the challenges and business opportunities in the aerospace sector in Guanajuato through presentations, workshops, networking activities, and an exhibitors’ area demonstrating the capacities that currently exist in the aerospace sector in Guanajuato.
Special guest organizations that addressed attendees during the event included Industrial Transformation Mexico (ITM), the Mexican Federation of the Aerospace Industry, the Chihuahua Aerospace Cluster organization, the Monterrey Aerocluster, the Querétaro Aerocluster, the Mexico Aerospace Fair, and the Mexican Federal Civil Aviation Agency.
During the Aerospace Summit 4.0, speakers addressed topics such as drones, flight simulators, additive manufacturing, IoT and education, and others.
Nine informative presentations were simultaneously transmitted through major social networks, 150 special guests and representatives of companies engaged in networking, B2B meetings, and visits to manufacturing plants that form a part of the aerospace cluster in Guanajuato.
Conversion of Guanajuato’s Automotive Suppliers
It was communicated that suppliers are required to expand the industry in the state because the companies that currently form the aerospace sector in Guanajuato are dedicated to additive manufacturing, the development of specialized software for aeronautics, robotics, and plastic injection molding.
It was posited that some of the dominant automotive suppliers in the state could potentially divert some of their productive capacity to manufacture parts used in air mobility and electric aircraft, among others.
Seize opportunities that exist
For his part, Bernd Rohde, CEO of Hannover Fairs Mexico, spoke of Industry 4.0 in the aerospace industry at the national level, which has experienced a growth rate of 14% or 15% per annum in recent years.
Mexico’s aerospace industry is comprised of about 400 companies, pre-pandemic. A trade surplus for the country has been constant. Mexico has exported much more than it has imported. In 2020 and 2021, it is estimated that the Mexican economy lost twenty thousand manufacturing jobs. It is expected that the nation’s labor market will recover from this significant downturn in the coming year.
He commented that in 2020 Mexico’s total aerospace exports were valued at $ 6.25 billion. This year’s total is expected to reach US $7.625 billion, while a projection for 2022 is estimated for US 8.84 billion. He explained that there is much opportunity to be found for the aerospace sector in Guanajuato in the global industry market and that Guanajuato has the potential to join other prominent aerospace manufacturing states.
A discussion of the broader economy
Rhode stated that there are import substitution opportunities in the North American region from which Mexico can benefit. Notably, it is estimated that this category of products can be substituted for between three and five billion dollars. He pointed out that if 5% to 10% of import substitution opportunities could be realized, it would be an excellent achievement for the Mexican economy.
Furthermore, he reported that competition and trade wars, China for the United States and the European Bloc is increasingly critical. Mexico has positioned itself positively concerning these disputes.
There is a diversity of products manufactured in Mexico. For example, today, 30% of the companies are of national origin. He also pointed out that there is skilled talent in the country that other Asian countries cannot access.
Guanajuato has positioned to be one of the most economically robust states in the Republic. The pandemic stopped commercial aviation, but the commercial industry will continue to grow, military expenditures are continuing to be strong.
A growing national aerospace sector
Luis Ernesto Rojas Ávila, CEO of Cofoce, commented that the aerospace sector in Mexico exported 6.25 billion dollars through the efforts of 330 companies. Eighty percent of this total came from manufacturing, and 20% came from design, engineering, maintenance, repair, and operations.
The future of the aerospace industry in Mexico is the found in the potential to sell to clients of the United States located abroad. The competitive advantage is that Guanajuato and the rest of the Mexican Republic enjoy a quality workforce. It forecast that Mexico’s labor force will have experienced a growth rate of 7% by the end of 2021
He explained that the main destinations of aerospace products manufactured in Mexico are the United States at 80.7%, Canada at 4.7%, France at 3.5%, Germany at 3.2%, and various other countries at 7.9%.
He specified that the Average Annual Growth Rate is of the Mexican aerospace industry was 40% from 2016 to 2020. Total manufacturing value increased by 5.8 million dollars.
In the aerospace sector in Guanajuato, the central exporting municipalities are Celaya, León, and San José Iturbide, which generated 356 jobs. The exported products are parts of airplanes or helicopters, lightweight aircraft, turbojets, turboprops, and gas turbines.
They diversify economy
Finally, Froylan Salas Navarro, Undersecretary for the Strengthening of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Committee, commented that the advantage for the state of Guanajuato is the diversification of the economy made up of 10 industrial clusters. This includes the emerging aerospace sector in Guanajuato.
State economic development officials will seek to incorporate MSMEs into larger business units in the coming years. This will result in creating a stronger and more resilient state economy. Opportunities to do this are in the areas of foundry, machining, assemblies, composite materials, plastic injection molding, special processes, electrical harnesses, among others. As these types of businesses form and thrive, the aerospace sector in Guanajuato will continue to expand and generate more employment opportunities for local citizens.