Oscar Peralta
Grupo GMI
View from the Top

Aircraft Maintenance the Jewel in Mexico's Crown

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 09:01

Q: What makes Grupo GMI unique and what projects are in the works?

A: Grupo GMI’s 25-year-old patented technology allows us to provide the aviation industry with removable hangars that are faster to install than permanent ones. The company entered the sector 22 years ago when it built a hangar for Aerolíneas Ejecutivas. Grupo GMI had developed a series of innovative buildings by fitting panels, linkages and screws together like a puzzle. The Aerolíneas contract was an opportunity to introduce our unique building system and assembly process to the segment. After that project, we were sourced to build a hangar for CEMEX’s private planes in Monterrey using our state-of-the-art technology. Airplane hangars require several special services for aircraft storage and maintenance, such as fire systems, automated doors and lights and easy-to-open manual doors. In Mexico, manual doors in hangars tend to get stuck and frequently require heavy equipment to move them. Our company offers doors that can be opened singlehandedly. GMI’s hangars do not require welding at any point, the construction of the precast units can be done in short periods of times and they can be easily transported to their final destination anywhere in the world.

We recently finished two projects in Monterrey, one for Beechcraft and another for Aerolíneas Ejecutivas, and we are planning to develop a third hangar with the latter. In El Salvador, we constructed a maintenance hangar for Aeroman, one of the largest MROs in Latin America that services all of Volaris’ fleet. Grupo GMI used its experience in the construction of this hangar to win a tender with Avianca for a maintenance center in Medellin, Colombia that opened in 2016. Our project with Avianca was completed in only one year and a half. It is the largest maintenance center in Latin America and the widest open hangar space in the region. All of the materials for this hangar were manufactured in Mexico and transported to Medellin.

Q: What challenges did Grupo GMI face entering the aviation industry?

A: The lack of a market database made it difficult to connect with companies in the industry. In the beginning  most of our promotion was through word of mouth. After seeing our first hangars other companies started to contact us, including Bardahl. Today, the main challenge is that the aviation industry fails to properly consider storage
and maintenance. Aircrafts are a significant investment 207 and buyers want to ensure the highest level of care possible. Many hangars have leaks or defective doors that eventually can end up damaging the aircraft. The market needs to increase its awareness about the importance of acquiring proper storage systems.

Q: What makes the company stand out in the aircraft maintenance sector?

A: Our design process takes between three and four months as our hangars are planned for airplane acquisitions over the next 10 years. Once the project is conceived and designed, its implementation only takes six months, half the time of our competition. We manufacture 65 percent of our hangars in our Queretaro plant. Our panels also are finished at the plant and only need to be assembled at the final destination, eliminating the need for specialized labor. The foundations are lighter and the hangars require no maintenance for 10 years, which represents considerable savings for our clients. Finally, our hangars are unique in that they can be disassembled and moved whenever and wherever they are needed, which means 70 percent of the structure can be reused. This is an advantage as most MROs construct hangars on leased land that will be occupied for a specific period of time, after which they may have to move to a different location.

Q: How is Grupo GMI’s supported by the Mexican government?

A: We have not received any subsidies or support from the government but its involvement in the consolidation of the aerospace industry is of the utmost importance. This industry generates a significant number of jobs but there is not a single governmental plan that tackles the area. Mexico has a manufacturing capacity that is strong enough to compete worldwide on quality and time. It could grow much more with the support of the government.