AT Engine Inaugurates Sonora Plant
Sonora strengthens its aerospace arm with the inauguration of a new plant in Hermosillo, Sonora. AT Engine, a joint project by Mexican Altaser Aerospace and the German Aerotech launched in 2017, inaugurated its manufacturing plant this Sunday. The 3.5ha plant represented a US$200 million investment and is expected to generate 400 aerospace jobs. It will focus on the production of engine parts and other aviation technologies to strengthen the state’s value chains.
Altaser Aerospace is a fully Mexican company created in 2012 that specializes in CNC machining of metal parts, components and assemblies. The company, part of Grupo Punto Alto, originates from Chihuahua and produces complex welded assemblies, components, fittings, railings and chassis, among other products. This new plant will allow Altaser Aerospace and Aerotech to strengthen their presence in northern Mexico and to cater to their partners north of the border.
While the global aerospace sector slowed down after the COVID-19 crisis, Sonora’s aerospace industry has remained active and even received investments during this period. In late 2020, the state announced the construction of a new plant from aerospace testing supplier Applied Technical Services (ATS), which would expand the company’s capabilities in the state from 200 to 1,000 employees.
The state has been working for several years in the attraction of more companies through attractive policies and facilities. “Factors, such as logistics costs and convenience, human capital and training, play favorably for Sonora,” said Enrique Ruiz, Director General of the Council for Sonora’s Economic Promotion (COPRESON), to MBN. “We offer advantageous logistics to support the North American market, a qualified talent pool capable adapting to new technologies, universities, research centers and training centers.”
The new plant is only the latest of Sonora’s efforts to position itself as a development hub for the aerospace sector. The state, which specializes in engine components, aerostructures and MRO services, already has more than 65 aerospace companies and has positioned itself in Mexico’s aerospace sector thanks to the production of components, engines and assemblies. The state is also well connected to the US (Mexico’s largest aerospace export destination), has a young and large workforce and several universities and professional training centers, which allowed the state to build its manufacturing capabilities in the aerospace, automotive, electronics and mining industries.
At a time when global aerospace supply chains have been disrupted by plant closures in COVID-19 hotspots, supply chain diversification has been hailed as a key strategy to streamline operations. Nearshoring, the trend of bringing manufacturing capabilities closer to home, is also gaining popularity among different industries. “The COVID-19 pandemic is further strengthening nearshoring trends,” said Carlos Robles, Vice President of the Central Region at FEMIA.