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Mexico Aerospace Sector Seeing Expansion of Opportunities

Eugenio Marin - FUMEC


Sofía Hanna By Sofía Hanna | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Mon, 05/29/2023 - 10:44

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Q: What are the foundation's ambitions for 2023 in the Mexican aerospace sector and what are the main opportunities and challenges it sees in the country? 

A: We have observed that after COVID-19, there has not only been a healthy recovery but an expansion of opportunities in Mexico due to the consolidation of aerospace manufacturing. Nearshoring has only fostered more opportunities. Although this phenomenon has been ongoing for 50 years, there is now a major boom, just like in the 1980s and ‘90s when operations relocated from America to Asia. 

It is not an easy task to attract big companies. They may want to relocate to Mexico, but the supply chain might not be ready. We are trying to fill this supply chain gap so that Latin American companies can take advantage of these new investments. It is going to take us about five years because it is an arduous task. Another issue is that there is a talent gap. The solution lies in working with the education systems in Mexico, the US and Canada to drive these capabilities and retrain talent.

In 2023, we are focusing on being more competitive across our supply chain. We have challenges ahead, but I know that new investments will contribute to a healthy supply chain development. I believe there will continue to be gaps in supply chains, but if we are smart enough and allocate resources wisely, commercial aerospace activities will grow tremendously.

Q: How has the digitization of the aerospace sector advanced and what has been FUMEC’s role in this process?

A: We have been working on Industry 4.0 and digitalization for a long time. First, we started with manufacturing companies in the automotive and aerospace industries. Now we are focused on taking digitization to another level, focusing on the supply chain and the relationship between companies, customers and the supplier. We want to optimize processes while ensuring confidentiality and respecting intellectual property.

The industry is reluctant to adopt cloud tools, compared to other industries like automotive. However, the sector needs to adopt these technologies to improve production, planning, deliveries and talent retention, among others.

Q: What does iCluster offer to the public and how has it progressed?

A: iCluster is a project that has existed since 2013. It was incubated as part of the high-level economic dialogue that was initiated between Mexico and the US in that year. The iCluster project seeks to compile public data from different and important sources, such as INEGI in Mexico, U.S. Census Bureau and ITA in Canada. With the previous administration in Mexico, our goals were compatible with those of the US and Canada; however, with the change of administration, this is no longer the case. We are working with the former iCluster team and we have a new agreement with INEGI and seeking support from the National Science Foundation in the US to continue with previous efforts. We believe this project will be key to identifying where the gaps are in certain products that cannot be built in a specific country due to a lack of components. 

We are working hard toward having the platform live and free of charge in 2024. We are investing in more technology, as the platform has artificial intelligence in its programming backbone. We are doing a specific study supported by NADBank in the CaliBaja region applying iCluster tools and methodology and then we are probably going to focus on Sonora, Arizona and Texas. 

Q: What are FUMEC’s priorities regarding Mexican aerospace SMEs?

A: We have identified similarities between Mexican and US companies, as they have the same needs. Our main priority is to help them quickly access opportunities in new markets, not only in aerospace but also in other sectors.

We push them toward opportunities and where their capabilities can fill the gaps in the sector. Our interest in American SMEs started in 2020 with the pandemic, when we observed that US-based international companies wanted to build a strong supply chain with Mexico. We recognized that SMEs needed to be prepared for these upcoming investments.

In 2021, we competed for and won a grant from the US Economic Development Administration. Our proposal was the Manufacturing Reshoring program to start helping development agencies diagnose about 100 companies in South Texas and some in northern Mexico. Now that the assessment has concluded, we are proposing solutions to close gaps, especially for nearshoring. We hope that the project will continue to receive support and, hopefully, there will be a second phase that will allow us to work more with SMEs.


The US-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC) is an NGO created in 1992 that aims to promote science, technology and innovation initiatives between the two countries.

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