Queretaro to Gain More Prominent Role in Aerospace Sector
Queretaro’s aerospace industry keeps growing despite challenges, with the state playing a crucial role in the national and international supply chains. Thanks to its labor force, universities and ideal location, the state has the potential to take a more prominent role in the aerospace industry.
Between 1999 and 2021, Queretaro received the most foreign direct investment (FDI) for the aerospace industry in Mexico, for a total of US$981 million. Queretaro’s numerous aerospace companies manufacture aerostructures, complex components of aerostructures, landing gear, engines and composite materials. Furthermore, the state has capabilities for special treatments and processes.
Queretaro’s geographic location, near the ports of Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas, has been essential to its success in the aerospace sector, said Marco Antonio del Prete Tercero, Minister of Sustainable Development of Queretaro (SEDESU). The state is also centric and well connected to other strategic industrial states such as San Luis Potosi, Irapuato, Leon, Guadalajara and Puebla. However, Queretaro’s main asset is its talent, which is the result of the industry’s strong collaboration with academia and R&D centers.
Queretaro’s main strength lies in its education system, which has received support from both the industry and the local government, said del Prete. “We have equipped technical and technological universities in the state, including Universidad Politécnica de Querétaro (UPQ), Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro (UTEQ) and Universidad Tecnológica de San Juan del Río (UTSJR).”
The state also hosts Mexico’s only aeronautical university: Universinad Aeronáutica en Querétaro (UNAQ). UNAQ’s graduates usually work for multinational aerospace companies established in the state, which include Bombardier, Eurocopter, Aernnova, Tremec, ITP, Grupo Safran and TechOps. The university is leading numerous aerospace projects, including some for the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and composite materials, the latter alongside SEDENA. Other projects include flight simulators for pilot training, developed with the Mexican Air Force and a femtosatellite built with MxSpace through Thumbsat. The university also performed research on nano, micro and picosatellites, launchers and navigation systems with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM).
UNAQ recently reached an agreement with Bombardier Aerospace for a fast-track training program for the manufacture of harnesses for their aircraft. UNAQ is the only university in Mexico that focuses completely on aerospace studies.
These strengths have helped make the state competitive. “We receive a superior investment amount compared to the major municipalities in Mexico. We have the top grade on the national scale of stable perspectives. We were awarded fifth place in the “Global Cities of the Future with Overall Economic Potential 2021-2022” and we are the second most attractive state for investment in Mexico,” explained del Prete. Additionally, Queretaro has no public debt and has the healthiest finances, he added. It is also the third most competitive in Mexico.
In the aerospace industry, Queretaro is home to two OEMs, 26 Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, five MROs, 19 general services companies, 12 research centers, four raw material suppliers and seven academic institutions, being in eight place among cities with the best FDI performance for the aerospace sector.
“Queretaro has experienced a 200 percent growth in aerospace companies since 2006. Most companies focus on manufacturing (72 percent), followed by R&D (13 percent) and maintenance and repair (11 percent),” said del Prete.