Francisco Estrada
Regional Director
Parque Aeroespacial Querétaro

Cooperation Helps Aerospace Park Take Flight

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 15:17

Parque Aerospacial Queretaro was created to support plane manufacturer Bombardier in Mexico. It took the cooperation of the federal and state governments, an innovative regulation and a distinctive business model to make it work. The Canadian OEM’s initial goal was the creation of an aeronautical cluster where the company could transfer several labor-intensive operations to make its manufacturing more cost-effective. “Bombardier finally chose Queretaro and, through talks with the federal government, realized the need to develop several areas to facilitate its establishment in the state, including the construction of the appropriate infrastructure in the form of an industrial park,” says Francisco Estrada, the industrial park’s Director General. “This led to an agreement with the federal government, which committed to finance an aeronautics university in Queretaro that would eventually become UNAQ.”

Estrada believes the state government was essential for the infrastructure’s development as it provided roads, lighting, fire prevention and drainage among other utilities. “In 2007, Vesta, our park’s owner, tendered for the construction of the aerospace park and competed against 22 national and international developers,” he says. “The basis for this tender followed an innovative regulation. Because the park would be built inside the airport, the companies could not own the land. It was necessary to generate new plans to guarantee a return of investment for developers.”

The federal government supported education and certification and the state government provided the land and helped to financially support construction, so that these costs would not be paid by the clients. “We had to develop an economic model which showed clients the benefits of operating in and belonging to the park even if they were not landowners,” Estrada says. “We proved that long-term it was more efficient for them to lease as they could invest in their own processes instead of acquiring land. All our processes were handled with complete transparency so our clients knew how every cent of their money was spent, which helped us gain their trust. Our clients were also able to supervise the process to ensure the infrastructure suited their needs.”

Parque Aerospacial Queretaro has steadily grown since 2007 due to a combination of quality infrastructure, well- educated qualified professionals, competitive labor costs and the benefits of producing in pesos and selling in euros or dollars. Other advantages include the proximity to Queretaro’s International Airport and the leasing processes, which lower use of land costs. Electricity is also subsidized by the state government, reducing costs to about US$100/kWh.

The park covers about 150,000m2 but it could incorporate 250,000-300,000m2 of industrial buildings. “Of the available space, 60-70 percent is reserved for Bombardier, and current infrastructure fully covers the needs of the industry,” says Estrada. “The only potential problem is the oversaturation of the current infrastructure as the park’s business model has been successful so it is filling faster than expected, and is now close to capacity.” He says the developers initially believed a 90ha project was overly ambitious, yet nine years later he realizes that it ought to have been two or three times larger. “We are researching alternatives to this problem, including expanding the park or creating an alternative location to complement it.”

Estrada also believes there is opportunity to develop the supply chain through the incorporation of Tier 2 and 3 companies. “We have also developed links with Queretaro parks in several different industries, such as automotive and home appliances,” he says. “The next goal for the sector should be to substitute the importation of raw materials by generating Mexican supply companies.” Nine years later, Parque Aerospacial Queretaro has proved be a successful model that has generated a platform for the development of the aerospace industry. “We are grateful as our clients have behaved as much more than just leasers. Together we have become an integrated society through process sharing, interests, needs and goals, which has led to the development of the infrastructure that this industry needs,” Estrada says.