Mexico Aircraft Manufacturing is On The Rise

Mexico aircraft manufacturing and the attending support systems is yet another growth industry for Mexico. The Latin American country is experiencing a boom within the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry, and aerospace investments in the country are announced routinely as aircraft manufacturers seek to take advantage of the skilled labor and proximity to the US market.

Mexican Aircraft Manufacturing

In recent years, Mexico has grown to become the 12th largest exporter of aerospace and defense products in the world and the 6th largest supplier to US markets. Experts are predicting new investments into the Mexico aircraft manufacturing industry that will soon propel Mexico to become the world’s 10th largest aerospace and defense exporter in the world.

Indeed, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto recently noted at the country’s first Mexican Aerospace Fair that aerospace employment in Mexico has grown by a factor of three over the course of the past eight years. And according to government numbers, while the US imports more Mexican made aerospace products than any other country, Mexico exported $6.3 billion USD in manufactured aerospace products to the rest of the world in 2014.

One of the more notable recent investments in Mexico aircraft manufacturing is the new ION Aircraft facility being opened in Tijuana, Mexico. The 300,000 square foot plant will manufacture airframe component parts for its A5 aircraft, rather than outsource component production. The project represents a significant commitment to Mexico and will employ 1,000 people. Speaking on this decision, ICON’s VP of Manufacturing, Thomas Wieners, stated:

Tijuana is ideal for ICON’s needs because it is a rapidly-emerging industrial center with the infrastructure and skilled labor force, including composites and aerospace expertise, to produce the volume and quality of composites we need to meet the significant A5 demand. Tijuana’s proximity to San Diego also reduces the time and cost to ship components to ICON’s aircraft assembly facility in California.

Another sizable investment comes in the recent announcement that Spectrum Aeronautical will manufacture its S-40 business jet in Mexicali, Mexico. This project represents an investment of $300 million USD and will encompass the entire value chain for this aircraft, including development, certification, and seeing the aircraft go into service. The company chose this location due to the region’s population of highly skilled workers and proximity to the sizeable aerospace industrial infrastructure of southern California.

Positive Factors Driving Mexican Aerospace Growth

Some of the myriad trends and benefits attracting aircraft manufacturing investment into Mexico include:

  • Increased development of regulatory framework and industry clusters
  • Collaboration with government and academia for a more skilled workforce
  • Proximity to consumers in the US
  • Global integration
  • Nearshoring
  • Access to global markets via Mexico’s numerous free trade agreements

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