Highlights of Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 - Mexico Business Events (mbe)

Highlights of Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016

Safran’s Parfait: Growth, Innovation Are Linked

Daniel Parfait, CEO of Safran Mexico
Safran’s Parfait: Growth, Innovation Are Linked

Innovation and progress are irremediably linked, Safran Mexico CEO Daniel Parfait told the 2016 Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 on Wednesday in Mexico City.

While innovation seems to be a growth engine it poses an important challenge: it needs to happen fast, otherwise the moment is gone. Keeping up with innovation is hard, but for Parfait, keeping up with innovation in the aerospace industry is even harder. “In aeronautics the time needed for innovation is different. We need to guarantee that what we are developing today will still be relevant in 35 years. No other industry does that.”

“It used to take 70 years to double a machine’s capacity, not anymore,” he added. “Growth and innovation are always linked. The important thing is to find a balance between innovation that destroys and innovation that creates jobs.”

For Parfait, innovation can be understood from two different perspectives. The Brynjolfsson/McAfee perspective states that we are living in an era marked by progress. For Parfait, self-driving cars and 3-D printing are examples of the prior. On the other hand, the Vijg/Gordon/Piketty perspective states that innovation is not what it used to be. For Parfait, the latter seems to be a pessimistic viewpoint.

Parfait said the French company goes above and beyond to guarantee innovation in every product. R&D activities receive 12 percent of the company’s revenues and 21 percent of its workforce, yielding 900 initial patent filings in 2015. These statistics led Thomson Reuters to rank Safran among the top 100 global innovators.

According to Parfait, innovation is not restricted to Europe or the US. “Mexico is a country of innovation. In Chihuahua, we have 4,000 employees that contribute with more than 5,000 new ideas every year.” The confidence of the French group also translates into new production opportunities for the country. “Mexico will be manufacturing key components of an engine that will dominate aviation in the near future.”

Innovation requires vision. “In the 1970s, Safran and GE had a strategic vision and teamed up to develop the CFM56 engine, one of the most reliable engines in the industry.” To date, aircraft with the CFM56 have traveled the equivalent of 50 roundtrips to the moon daily. According to company data, aircraft with this engine move more than 3 million passengers punctually on a daily basis, accounting for 99.98 percent service reliability.

Constant innovation and technological advancements should not mean unemployment. “For Safran, innovation is a way of creating social cohesion and financial inclusion,” Parfait said. The company also strives to take care of its employees. “Sixty percent of Safran employees are shareholders and we are ranked second in the CAC40 stock market index of companies with the largest number of employee shareholders.”

How can Mexico fly higher and higher?

Pablo Carranz, Aviation Director of the Mexican Civil Aviation General Management
How can Mexico fly higher and higher?

By 2015, the commercial aviation market represented 74.8 million passengers and more than 695,000 tons of cargo. The expectations for 2020 are to transport over 111 million passengers and over 775,000 tons of cargo.

As Mexico strives to consolidate its place as a global aviation hub, Pablo Carranza, Aviation Director of the Mexican Civil Aviation General Management, spoke to the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 on Wednesday in Mexico City about some of the challenges the industry faces and the projects that are still to be finalized.

The areas of opportunity are clear, including the negotiation of new bilateral air transportation agreements, the exploitation of new routes and destinations and the development of unmanned aircraft. “This without mentioning companies interested in going into the space sector by launching rockets or satellites,” added Carranza during the event held at the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel. However, to make this a reality there are various areas to address.

The first issue is the investment and development of the national logistics platform. Carranza sees regulation compliance and airport vigilance as two of the main priorities in this area, particularly in the country’s main operating hubs like Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. “The investment in the AICM has been over MX$34 million (US$1.8 million) and our goal now is to support the completion of NAICM,” he added.

Along with the physical infrastructure, air space needs to be restructured. “We must develop better routes considering cost reductions, fuel consumption and polluting emissions,” said Carranza. “The government’s goal is to have most routes under this system by 2020.” Improving security through aircraft, personnel, infrastructure and processes are all among the strategies DGAC is using to achieve this, leaning on the government, the private sector and associations like CANAERO.

“New programs are being enforced, including the Safety Management System, the State Safety Program and the Runway Safety Team,” stated Carranza. “In addition, we are implementing the ISAGO program focused on platform accident reduction, IOSA for operative management evaluation and ISBAO for quality standards regarding executive aviation.”

DGAC’s priorities also include helicopters and drones. The Helicopter Safety Team (HST-México) is in charge of monitoring helicopter-related incidents and between 2006 and 2016 there were 98 accidents recorded with only three happening in 2016. In terms of drones, the DGAC updated the AV-23/10 R3 regulation establishing the requirements for operating an unmanned aircraft remotely.

One of the most important areas of opportunity for Mexico is the strengthening of its agreements on air transportation. “The country has signed 51 agreements with 51 countries involving number of airlines per country, routes and traffic rights, among other topics,” added Carranza. “Another 21 agreements are pending signature while 12 are still under negotiation.

Of these collaborations, BASA is the most important for Mexico at an international level. “Our relationship with the US is key for our country’s development but it needs to be supported by a strong manufacturing backbone,” said Carranza. “There is no aircraft, engine or propeller fully assembled in Mexico but we can support transnational companies by ensuring the best quality in our operations.”

The aerospace industry in Mexico is divided in three main segments. Seventy-nine percent of the industry focuses on manufacturing operations, 11 percent handles MRO operations and the remaining 10 percent is directed to R&D operations. “To support BASA, the industry must comply with international standards regarding approval of design and production, maintenance of aeronavigation systems and technical assistance among several leading parties.”

Growth and renovation of fleets is also mandatory for the industry to evolve. “There is a growing trend of incrementing and renovating fleets at an annual 9.1 percent rate, incorporating modern units like the BOEING 787-9 Dreamliner and the AIRBUS A320 NEO,” explained Carranza.

As companies bring in new technology, best international practices are also essential to guarantee safety, efficiency and regularity in air transportation. “We have developed a strong training network throughout the country and 109 flight simulators have been approved nationally so far,” said Carranza.

Just Enough MRO Demand to Go Around

Just Enough MRO Demand to Go Around

The worlds of executive travel and commercial aviation, while distinct, both enjoy a 30-40 percent cheaper workforce in Mexican aircraft maintenance. Strangely, high demand and low supply have not seen economic forces at work to send salaries skyrocketing, although scarcity of technicians means there’s plenty of work to go around, according to Guillermo Heredia Cabarga, Chairman of Qet Tech Aerospace.

“Those who study the sector, graduate straight into a job,” Cabarga said, during a panel at the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 on Wednesday.

César Fragozo, Chief of Unit for Sectorial Development at ProMéxico, led the discussion on MROs in exploring possibilities for Mexico to become a world-class hub for these activities.

The potential is “continentally enormous,” according to Guillermo Heredia Cabarga, Chairman of Qet Tech Aerospace, “but it could be just as influential in the local market.” In a market of US$62.1 billion globally, Mexico’s cut could easily be US$30 million per year, considering US$10,000 per aircraft per year, he said.

The panelists were also keen to contest US certifications, which are hard to get. Monterrey Jet Center has been operating a location for nine years and only obtained FAA approval a year ago. This limits entrants to the sector, according to Roberto Marcos, Vice President of Monterrey Jet Center.

Marcos Rosales, Director General of Mexicana MRO, also cited the regulatory hoops businesses must jump through to gain certification. “Managing 18 different certifications is incredibly complex,” he said. Rosales would like the DGAC to do everything in its power to simplify red tape.

Cabarga was in agreement and also cited the investment required to keep certifications up to date. The long-term expenses seem to be a breaking point for smaller companies without large funds behind them to begin with.

The authorities should help support companies to obtain certifications while also simplifying the process, the panelists said. Jess Losada, COO & Senior VP of Maintenance at TechOps, also said that laws in Mexico were even stricter than in the US and harder for MROs to comply with.

Human capital scarcity remains a constant across many industries and aerospace is not immune. In Queretaro, Losada cited the UNAQ’s presence training human capital, which is one of TechOps’ main identified challenges. Knowing the government is happy to invest in young people who will be the future of the industry is a consolation to companies that see a limited supply of engineers at present.

A key impediment to the industry’s competitiveness is the expensive need to import parts and textiles to Mexico. This need also results in another significant problem: delays at customs.

“The efficiency of our processes is tied to customs processes,” Rosales said, adding that the level of efficiency is not high enough. “We must reorganize customs at a public policy level to avoid losing clients to long waits that are hard to defend to a client.”

Marcos agreed. “We avoid importing anything that could delay our services,” he said. Customs inefficiencies also prevent private aviation companies from offering an optimum service. Being able to carry out legal and immigration paperwork wherever suitable on airport property should be enough, he added.

Technology is another factor the industry must come to grips with. “There is just enough business to go around,” said Losada, but if companies want to attack Asia for example, they must re-evaluate data management and technology. Today, 100,000 parameters of maintenance are evaluated. “While we have the capacity to develop this, it will require huge investments and governmental support.”

The panelists were of the opinion that independent MROs could absorb much more business, despite signs of saturation. “The appetite for business leads MROs to try and attract clients from new markets,” such as Europe and what is left of North American operators, said Rosales.

The Client is King… Or They Should Be

The Client is King… Or They Should Be

Airlines face a dilemma in balancing passenger experience with flight costs but technology may eventually provide a breakthrough, according to a panel of industry experts at the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Moderating the panel “Passenger Experience in Commercial Aviation” at the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel, Melvin Cintron, Regional Director of ICAO for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, also noted the need to attract more women to the aerospace industry. “We need to find new strategies to introduce young women into aerospace education,” he said. “At the same time, we need to promote women already in the industry to reach executive levels.”

The bulk of the discussion focused on the issues airlines grapple with as they try to meet the needs of customers while also serving shareholders. Rafael Driendl, Country Manager of Kayak, highlighted the importance of all services around the flight itself. “The client experience starts before the customer gets in the plane, including how easy it is to find a flight, how easy it is to buy a ticket and how frequently it gets canceled or delayed.”

Added Rodrigo Vásquez, CEO of TAR Airlines: “At the end of all our productive chains, there is a final customer.”

But evolution in services, especially by way of new technologies, is not cheap and this is reflected in higher costs for the final consumer. “Better customer service means higher prices and aviation is always affected by the position of its stakeholders,” said Driendl.

Still, a customer-centered approach is a priority for all players in the industry, the panel agreed. “Better and more competitive airports would represent a better integration between them and the airlines,” said Sergio Allard, President of CANAERO, supported by Héctor Iriarte, Director General of LATAM Airlines Group Mexico, who emphasized the importance of airlines participating in processes before and after passengers take their flight.

This becomes especially necessary as Mexico begins to meet its potential for passenger traffic.

“The potential for Mexico under the right conditions of regulation and infrastructure is 125 million passengers per year,” said Allard. This represents a challenge in terms of saturation but the CANAERO President stressed the importance of maintaining efficiency even under these conditions. Iriarte agreed. “Effective costs are not a business model but a necessity,” he said. “We must address the needs of each client and understand that there are no one-stop solutions that apply to every passenger.”

Empowering the user during the decision-making process also is a priority, especially considering technology integration throughout the industry. Even though, according to Driendl, 60 percent of Kayak’s operations are based on technology, the country manager recognized that companies normally make decisions based on simple assumptions. “Customers’ opinions do not always reach the decision-makers.”

Vásquez pointed out that alliances are vital to determine the needs of the user, a factor Iriarte suggested could help understand the customer better. “Our competitors are sources of information for what users are expecting from us,” he said.

Regulations and customary processes, though necessary, present an added obstacle for customer service. “Our main values are safety and security and we need to work as a team to achieve this,” said Allard. “We put our lives in the hands of the airlines but we do not always realize it.”

Technology and better processes will ultimately dramatically shift the customer experience. Said Allard: “Someday we will have an airport without counters, where everything is controlled by the user through their personal devices.”

Private Aviation Market on Its Way to Disruption

Private Aviation Market on Its Way to Disruption

An improvement in the country’s infrastructure and regulatory conditions could boost the use of private aviation, a group of experts told the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 on Wednesday in Mexico City.

Samuel García, Director of Sales at Honda Jet Mexico, Francisco Navarro, Director General at Airbus Helicopters Mexico, Bernardo Moreno, Director General of Redwings and Andrés Arboleda, Co-Founder & COO of Privé Jets, participated in the panel “Private Aviation Market: Ready for Disruption?” at the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel.

“Considering executive aviation’s fragile utilities, its biggest challenges are complying with Mexican regulations and international best practices,” said García.

A big part of that challenge is cost. “Complying with all regulations is very expensive,” said Moreno. “Though the industry in our country enjoys healthy competition, there are many companies that would like to compete but do not comply with the normativity.”

Following the criteria established by the government and offering superior quality services is also a challenge that needs to be tackled by educating customers to choose quality over price. “Passengers need to be very conscious of the advantages of choosing superior services even if they are US$100 more expensive,” said Moreno. For Arboleda, education is key but other processes, such as audits, can also help clients choose superior services. “Even though in some cases audits have become a marketing strategy, it is undeniable that they inspire confidence in clients.”

Having a state of the art fleet plays an important role. “Consumers prefer flying on planes from the 2000s, with commodities such as Wi-Fi,” said Arboleda. While OEMs contribute by offering products and services at a competitive cost, as Navarro noted, it is not enough to ensure newer fleets. “In Mexico, financing options for new aircraft are more expensive than those offered in other countries,” continued Arboleda.

New aircraft also come with the challenge of depreciation. “Before the 2008 crisis, you could buy a plane and it would take 10 years to notice a significant price depreciation,” said Moreno. “Now it only takes five years for the value of an aircraft to depreciate 50 percent.”

Even though new aircraft might be preferred by some clients, there is a significant challenge with these models in Mexico because the country lacks the necessary infrastructure to support the technology. “The infrastructure the country has does not help us to mitigate the costs operators incur when we have new planes. We do not experience sound benefits from operating modern aircraft,” said Moreno.

The lack of infrastructure not only affects technology adoption but also the implementation of new mobility options. Navarro believes that services such as Cabifly can help its users reduce the time they spend in traffic by almost 70 percent. Should the infrastructure needed for helicopters be in optimal condition, the city could enjoy mobility flexibility akin to that in Tokyo or New York. “Helicopters provide flexibility in a way highways cannot. An ideal solution would be to join air and land transportation,” said Navarro.

For helicopters to function as a mobility option, heliports are key. García said that improving the heliport infrastructure represents a business opportunity for the private sector.

Mexican regulation for airports is complicated but its complexity is related more to urbanistic conditions than aeronautic specifics, Moreno added. Having less complicated regulations would lead to solutions that could connect Mexico City with cities such as Queretaro, Cuernavaca, Toluca and Morelia, alleviating highway congestion.

Using private aviation to alleviate mobility problems would lead the industry to explore new business prospects. The use of mobile phones and apps could even produce a more widespread use of private aircraft, said Arboleda. “The use of apps could help in the creation of shuttle flights, which would be commercial flights on executive aircraft,” he said. This type of service could definitely lead to a change in the user profile, added Moreno.

Until that day comes, the panelists agreed that its customer service will continue to make executive aviation unique. “Commercial aviation’s business is transportation. Executive aviation’s business is 100 percent customer service,” said Moreno.

Define Advantages to Compete Internationally

Define Advantages to Compete Internationally

The leaders of Mexico’s aero clusters are also businessmen, heading up internationally successful companies Safran Group, Metal Finishing Co. and TECMAQ in Mexico. This experience drove them to represent the industry’s individual needs in the search for individual cluster realization and international integration.

“It’s undeniable that we compete to attract companies,” said René Espinosa, President of Chihuahua Aerocluster at Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 at the Sheraton Maria Isabel on Wednesday. “This does not mean that each individual cluster does not have its advantages.”

If a company’s criteria is volume of exports, then it would choose Queretaro, but in number of companies in a certain region Baja California is leagues ahead. If a company is interested in who leads in number of employees, then FEMIA would guide it to Chihuahua. But Carlos Ramírez, President of Monterrery Aerocluster, disagreed that it is clear what each cluster’s competencies are. “The industry needs to more clearly define its competitive advantages by region to effectively compete with emerging forces in Europe and North Africa, for example.”

“In a global market that represents US$450 billion, Mexico’s participation is currently infantile,” said Luis Lizcano, Director General of FEMIA. The Federation leads the industry and gathers companies’ needs together to grant the most common wishes. “We are not fourth in the world by chance,” said Claude Gobenceaux, President of AeroClúster de Querétaro. Mexico’s success as an aerospace hub is because the government and authorities listen to what companies need to grow. But now the country calls for more academia and education and for companies that are already in Mexico to support newcomers.

Engineering and design advances, born from partnerships with the universities in Chihuahua, have led to the integration of 100 percent of aerospace companies into the cluster, according to Espinosa. His Chihuahua cluster employs 18,000 people in the industry. Having bridged the gaps between classroom knowledge and real industry experience, the cluster has led academia to register several patents and for the state to be the leading global producer of harnesses. “Safran and Honeywell alike have opened aerospace engineering centers in Chihuahua,” said Espinosa.

The success story in Queretaro is its starring company Bombardier, which arrived hand-in-hand with Safran to the state. The five (now close to being six, according to Gobenceaux) Bombardier plants have fed enough SMEs to hire 8,500 people in Queretaro’s aerospace industry. The youngest cluster is responsible for about 50 percent of funding of industry innovation, into which the country has established limited roots but is keen to venture further.

In contrast, MROs flourish in Nuevo Leon, catering to clients in the Del Norte International Airport. For local industry, adapting the manufacturing sector’s technology to convert it to aerospace production are Monterrey Aerocluster’s priority, according to Ramírez.

Each state is responsible for promoting its advantages, though the uniting body FEMIA asks: how can the sectors collaborate to reach greater levels of international integration? Competition between states’ egos is unavoidable. But until more companies participate in FEMIA, to surpass the 60 companies represented by the Federation, the country cannot compete as a united front. “If only 20 percent of the sector’s companies are represented by FEMIA, how can external entities know what services are truly available here?” said Gobenceaux. Each cluster and representative of the industry have to participate in every council and meeting to change this, added Ramirez.

The Forum’s running theme of how can Tier 1s and OEMs sponsor nascent companies prevailed. While the federal government must play a greater role in the sector’s productivity, when Queretaro faced problems in the aerospace sector relating to customs, it was the government of Queretaro that realized that something must be done and reacted, according to Gobenceaux. “Five percent of aerospace sales in the world can be contributed to Mexico, though that could be multiplied sixfold if the government increased its efforts.”

Espinosa’s inspiring message stood out from the panel, titled Cluster: Collaboration vs Competition: “The largest aero cluster is not Queretaro. It is not Monterey nor Baja California nor Chihuahua. It is Mexico.”

Global Economy Presents Opportunities for Mexico

Global Economy Presents Opportunities for Mexico

Change and dynamism in the global economy represent an important opportunity for further developing the aerospace industry in Mexico, a panel of leading experts told the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 on Wednesday at Mexico City’s Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel.

Francisco Bautista, Partner at Ernst-Young, José Luis Rodríguez, Operation Director at Fokker, Vitor Bocci, Vice President of Airfreight at Kuehne+Nagel and Felipe Sandoval, General Manager of Zodiac Aerospace Mexico, took part in the panel titled, “Mexico’s Competitive Advantage for OEMs.”

“Planning has to be dynamic,” Sandoval told the audience. “Companies need to adjust to this dynamic planning and the government needs to work in adjusting the country’s infrastructure so we can remain competitive.” The economy’s dynamism opens the country to an array of opportunities that need to be explored, regardless of political leaders, he said, referring to the stunning victory of US President-elect Donald Trump the night before.

Bocci, of Kuehne+Nagel, added that one of Mexico’s main opportunities is to connect the Mexican aerospace clusters with entry and exit points in the US, and to do so effectively. Even though production costs in Mexico are 13 percent lower than those in the US, logistics costs could be more competitive. “Developing competitive and functional logistics solutions can help Mexico positon itself not as a buyer but as a nondependent supplier of the US.”

Having a strong aerospace industry independent of the US appears to be the challenge, agreed Bocci and Sandoval. “Logistically, Mexico has to think in globalized logistics planning terms,” said Sandoval. “We need to develop first-level hubs in Mexico that can become an alternative for the North American market.” The saturation level of North America’s traditional hubs, such as Houston, opens an important opportunity for Mexico, he said, which the country needs to take advantage off. However, for this to happen the country needs to develop its infrastructure and supply chain.

Although the panel agreed that developing the supply chain was an obvious answer, that is easier said than done. Rodríguez said Mexico has done a good job gaining experience in the manufacture and development of complex products. The next step is to migrate completely the entire manufacturing chain to the country. “We have used the wrong strategy to attract Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies,” he said. “While developing a national supply chain would be preferable, the truth is that it will take between 10 and 15 years to fully develop Mexican Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies. The short-term solution is to create joint ventures between Mexican and foreign companies.”

Sponsorship from OEMs, Tier 1 companies and the government is vital to help the supply chain grow. “Unlike automotive OEMs, aerospace OEMs have not had the willingness to establish in Mexico,” Sandoval said. This situation, however, seems to be changing. “Aerospace OEMs are noticing their supply chain is strongly restricted and they know the current model will not allow them to experience sustainable growth,” he said. For Bocci, the only way for Mexico to capitalize on the OEMs’ restricted supply chain is through strategic planning and close collaboration between the government and OEMs.

Collaboration between private and public entities needs to be focused on specific goals. “We need to take the triple helix model to a new level. The entire private sector needs to be working toward one common goal instead of individual objectives,” Rodríguez said. Sandoval added that the industry needs to leverage the government’s aerospace needs. “The military sector and Mexican airlines could help the industry develop,” he said.

Ultimately, the vital question is what can the government do to help Mexican companies take advantage of the opportunities generated by the current conditions and participate in the aerospace industry? “The industry has several entry barriers and regulatory hurdles that make it complex and expensive. Mexican companies need the sponsor of OEMs, Tier 1 companies and the Mexican government,” said Sandoval.

A New Success Story for Mexico

Francisco González Díaz, Director General of ProMéxico
A New Success Story for Mexico

The Mexican government’s position to push forward the aerospace industry is a national priority, said Francisco González Díaz, Director General of ProMéxico as he kicked off Mexico Aerospace Forum 2016 at the Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City on Wednesday. “This is the start of a story of success for the country,” González, representing the Minister of Economy, said. “We will continue positioning Mexico as an increasingly important player in the sector.”

A day after Donald Trump surprised the world by winning the US presidential election, González expressed concerns about the result and highlighted the uncertainty of the situation. “What happened yesterday is something that we still cannot understand until there is a defined plan from the new president.”

In just one decade, Mexico has moved from a handful of companies in the aerospace industry to more than 300 players contributing to the sector’s growth. With 45,000 people employed nationally, the country now occupies the 14th place in the aerospace industry globally.

With exports of US$381 billion and reserves of US$177 billion in 2015, Mexico is ranked 18th in AT Kearney’s Investment Confidence Index. The country ranks 22nd in the Harvard and MIT Atlas of Economic Complexity, relating knowledge and practices to competitiveness and future economic growth. Coupled with strong commercial relations with 46 countries, this has a strong impact on the growth the aerospace industry is experiencing. “The TPP will also bring a new change, although this evolution will need to wait for ratification of the new agreement from Japan and the US,” added González.

During his opening presentation, the Director General highlighted Mexico’s evolution as an advanced manufacturing hub. “Mexico has moved from basic and low-level manufacturing processes to increasingly complex products including design and engineering processes.” The country is now producing more engineers than France, the UK and Brazil, rivaling the professional environment of countries like the US and Germany. “Mexico is currently the third largest exporter of medium and high-technology products behind Germany and South Korea,” González said.

With a world manufacturing value in 2015 of US$582.6 billion, Mexico has an enormous opportunity for development. “The country’s production costs are 13 percent lower than in the US according to KPMG,” said González. Even so, there are still opportunities to address in the sector. “The government identifies treatments, sheet metal, machining, electronics, castings, forgings and harnesses as the main areas of opportunity,” he states. “We need to create opportunities for Mexican companies to participate in the aerospace sector.”

Queretaro is ranked fourth globally as an investment destination, followed by Chihuahua in sixth place. “Overall, Mexico is ranked third among top countries for aerospace investment according to the numbers between 2009 and 2015,” he added.

Mexico has five large aerospace clusters. Baja California leads the charge with 70 companies, followed by Sonora with 50. Queretaro ranks third with 41 players, while Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon add 35 and 32 each. “I want to publicly add today Yucatan to the list as a state moving into the aerospace industry,” said González.

Mexico’s manufacturing advantages are fueled by a positive forecast in commercial and cargo aviation. “In the next 20 years, commercial cargo fleets will double according to Airbus’ global market forecast,” González said. This will lead the market to increase its demand twofold with generalized growth throughout the globe.

By 2035, human capital needs and the value of the MRO market is also expected to increase. Particularly in North America, González highlights the US$314 billion value of the MRO market and the approximate demand for 73,600 pilots.

R&D operations are also growing with companies like Honeywell, Safran, GE and Bombardier having important projects. However, according to González, “this is something that requires many years and a large investment.”

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