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News Article

Queretaro Aerospace Hub: Best Practices and Next Steps

By Alejandro Enríquez | Wed, 11/27/2019 - 14:03

From 2009-2019, Queretaro received 50 percent of all aerospace investments in the country, an accomplishment that demonstrates the state’s resolve to get into the aerospace sector was well-placed, said Marco Antonio del Prete III, Minister of Sustainable Development of the state of Queretaro at the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2019 on Wednesday. “Seventeen years ago, it seemed absurd to build a new airport so close to other cities like Mexico City or Leon. Today, we can see that Queretaro’s aerospace capacities began from that visionary decision.”

Queretaro is the world’s fourth-ranked destination for aerospace FDI. The reason? “Queretaro has more than 80 companies and institutions focused on the industry, including two aerospace OEMs, 26 Tier 1 or 2 companies, five MROs, seven academic institutions, including UNAQ, which is the only aerospace university in the country, 12 R&D centers, 19 general services companies and four companies focused on developing new materials,” del Prete said during his presentation at the Marquis Hotel in Mexico City.

Bombardier was the first large aerospace company to establish in the state in the early 2000s. “The reasons behind Bombardier’s arrival to the state were not only the airport but the government’s willingness to establish the first and only university in the country focused on the industry.” This set the stage for companies such as Safran, Delta, TechOps and ITP to later arrive to the state. Seventy-two percent of Queretaro’s aerospace industry is focused on manufacturing, 11 percent on maintenance and 13 percent on research and development.

Queretaro Intercontinental Airport (AIQ) remains a cornerstone for the industry in the state, with an  industrial park next to the airport, Queretaro’s Aeronautic University (UNAQ), a cargo area, passenger terminal and a military base in the near future. From 2013 to 2018, AIQ passenger traffic grew at a 50 percent rate.

Del Prete also confirmed that Queretaro Gov. Francisco Domínguez has conducted talks with President López Obrador to make AIQ an alternative for shipments into Mexico City International Airport (AICM). “Queretaro has direct cargo flights from Luxembourg and Hamburg, we are a DHL and FedEx international hub as well. The airport has a 10,000m2 storage capacity, including temperature-sensitive shipments. We have plans to expand that area to 18,000m2 so AIQ can receive shipments from AICM,” he said.

The state government also has started investing in Industry 4.0 projects to foster Queretaro’s advanced manufacturing capacities. “We recently began a three-party investment between General Electric, CIDESI and CONACYT to establish an additive manufacturing and 3D manufacturing consortium for the aerospace and medical industries. We are taking advantage of the GE design center in the state, which designs Boeing’s engines in partnership with Safran,” del Prete said.

Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst