Queretaro: Growing Aerospace Hub
The Mexican aerospace industry has been growing significantly in the past years, turning the country into a hub for investment and specialized training centers. Since 2004, 385 enterprises have been added to the industry, with over 450 entities currently operating in the country. Queretaro has received a significant part of that investment, making it the fourth-biggest contributor to the industry in Mexico.
Before the pandemic, the Queretaro aerospace industry had an average sustained annual growth of 15 percent, including job generation, construction of new facilities, design and engineering and sustained growth in passenger and cargo mobility, according to José Antonio Velázquez Salis, Managing Director of the Queretaro Aerocluster. After the pandemic hit, this industry stayed alert to new opportunities to contribute to the current scenario.
During his most recent announcement, Antonio Bravo Álvarez, Executive Director of FAMEX, said the industry had recorded an average annual growth of 14.4 percent in 2020, against 2019. He also mentioned that in states like Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Queretaro and Nuevo Leon, academic programs had been molded to adapt to the industry’s needs. “This is an industry that requires high technical training," Bravo said in an article by El Economista. Velázquez said Queretaro has also focused on reconverting existing companies to address new needs. Reconfiguration and reassignment of raw material sources, joining efforts with other aerospace states to become more competitive in terms of professional skills and training programs for the acquisition of new skills and development, have been other priorities for the state, as mentioned on Noticias Queretaro.
A previous MBN article highlights the role specialized product exports have played in Mexico’s economic recovery, which includes aerospace product exports. There have been relocations of supply chains that have turned Mexico into a good alternative for production. In fact, part of the FDI being received comes mostly from the US (48 percent) and Canada (36 percent). This type of investment could grow even more if there were developing research centers to develop and promote new technological solutions, said Rene Espinosa, President of Chihuahua Aerospace Cluster, in an interview with MBN in August.
Daniel Hernández, Managing Director of the Queretaro Automotive Cluster, told MBN that the reason why this state is so attractive for FDI is mainly because of its sustained growth and its capability to engage in product development. “Research and engineering centers working hand in hand with manufacturing companies is proof that we have developed unique technical capabilities to conduct product engineering,” he said. There are state initiatives to develop projects but there is a need to understand the market better for these needed investments to arrive sooner, he said. Queretaro has been careful with its initiatives and products, however, checking production demand to make the right move.
During an MBN interview, Felipe Sandoval, President of FEMIA, addressed the initiatives taken to support the local industry and supplier development is chief among them. He said major manufacturers are shifting their focus from a global supply chain to regional blocks. However, for Mexico to really take advantage of the opportunities regionalization can create, the industry must transform to reach international standards.