Gilles Moreaux
General Director
Figeac Aero México
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View from the Top

Mexico Offers Large Opportunities for FDI: Figeac Aero

Fri, 07/30/2021 - 15:55

Q: Figeac Aero has operated in Sonora since 2015, why did the company chose this state as an entry point to Mexico?

A: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Figeac was one of the main manufacturers of aerospace parts of the EU with an important presence in Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Romania, China and the US. We arrived in Sonora because one of our biggest clients, Latécoère, established in the state to manufacture aircraft doors for the Boeing 787 program.

Operating in Sonora was hard at first because unlike other states, such as Queretaro and Nuevo Leon, Sonora did not have enough qualified talent. However, Mexico had the conditions to help the company grow extremely fast, much quicker in any other country. The state really helped us to find and train our teams.

 

Q: What is the competitive advantage of Figeac Aero in the aerospace industry?

A: Figeac Aero offers on-time quality products to Canada, the US, the EU and Mexico. One of our main advantages is the on-time delivery of 95 percent of our millions of products.

We also have certifications from Boeing, Bombardier and Airbus, among others. Every company that produces aerospace parts must be NADCAP certified. We received our certification of excellence three years ago. Figeac Aero Mexico has engineering, production, assemblage and paint departments.

 

Q:  Figeac Aero reported a contraction in revenue as a consequence of the pandemic. What measures have you adopted to mitigate this problem?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for us. We went from having 400 collaborators to 150. Before the pandemic, we signed contracts with Bombardier, Airbus, Collins Aerospace, Stepia and Bell Helicopters, among others. Figeac Aero showcased Mexico’s capabilities for the manufacture of complex, quality pieces. COVID-19 made our job harder but our clients remained satisfied.

Mexican companies have shown that they can perform at the same level as those in other countries, sometimes even better. We have been recovering and our team is now reaching 250 collaborators. We implemented several security measures to keep our collaborators safe and we bought oxygen tanks if necessary. In some cases, we directly supplied oxygen tanks to those who needed them. Fortunately, we did not lose any collaborator during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Q: What trends will influence the Mexican aerospace sector in the upcoming years?

A: The pandemic emphasized the strong dependence of the industry in Asian countries. For this reason, manufacturing companies in the US recognized that they need to have their supply chains closer and Mexico is a great location to do this.

Mexico’s northern states will see accelerated growth in the next five years because of the nearshoring trend. This trend offers large opportunities for the Mexican aerospace sector because the country has excellent engineers and technicians. At Figeac, we have more engineers and technicians than operators. This trend will help the development of the industrial sector and the supply chain in Mexico.

 

Q: How will the business model of the recently developed Route 25 impact the operations of the company in Mexico?  

A: This plan will introduce more changes to the company. We are now negotiating the production of different aerospace pieces and aircraft floors in Mexico. This will be a different production line for the company but we believe that we can manage it. Figeac Aero has decided to accelerate international investment and many of those will come to Mexico. There are many business opportunities in the country.

 

Q: What challenges did the company face to find qualified talent in Sonora?

A: There is not a large amount of qualified talent in Sonora’s aerospace sector, but we have motivated collaborators that are willing to learn and grow. Mexico offers companies numerous benefits without asking for anything in return. If anyone wants to start a company in Mexico, there are no production nor transfers of technology requirements. But the aerospace sector demands that companies invest in talent to function. This allows Mexico to acquire technical talent and generate economic growth.

 

Q: What collaboration strategies has Figeac Aero Mexico implemented in Sonora and across the country?

A: We are closely working with the government of Sonora to develop a training school and we have collaborated with the Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora (ITH). We are also working with the clusters of Queretaro and Chihuahua to create our own cluster. We are trying to promote the advantages of Sonora to potential investors because it is a good state for the sector.

 

Figeac Aero, headquartered in France, is a key partner for the main aerospace actors. The company focuses on the manufacture and assembly of metal components.

Photo by:   Figeac Aero