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Monterrey Aerocluster companies are at 90% capacity due to nearshoring

by | Jun 17, 2024

The Monterrey Aerocluster is made up of 45 primarily Mexican companies. It is currently operating at maximum capacity due to growing demand and the challenge of satisfying it as part of the relocation of supply chains, indicated Erik Palacios, executive director of the cluster.

In 2023, the Monterrey Aerocluster continued to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nuevo León and demonstrated robust performance in production growth. Notably, the companies associated with the Monterrey Aerocluster are operating at 90% of their capacity, a clear sign of the high demand and the challenge to satisfy it as part of the nearshoring phenomenon. This success story is a testament to the cluster’s potential and its bright future.

The executive director of the Monterrey Aerocluster, Erik Palacios Garza, recently shared the challenges the cluster is facing. He said, “The companies in the cluster, where we also have companies installed in Tamaulipas and Coahuila, are doing very well. They tell me that they are all at capacities above 90% and cannot serve all the clients coming to them; they are surprised by the number of aerospace clients looking to access their services in recent years. These challenges highlight the need for support and understanding from the industry and the government.”

The majority of the companies in the Monterrey Aerocluster are domestic

He highlighted that the Monterrey Aerocluster comprises 45 companies; most are Mexican, contrary to the case in other aerospace clusters in Mexico, where foreign companies seeking maquila predominate.

He explained that the aerospace industry has clusters mainly on the border, such as Baja California, Chihuahua, Sonora and Nuevo León, and Querétaro in the country’s center. These industry clusters function as collaboration centers of the triple helix: private manufacturing companies and government and academic institutions.

A Fact Sheet on the Aerospace Sector of Mexico, prepared by the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Mexico City, indicates that “the most prominent states in terms of aerospace investment and activity are”:

Querétaro: The Central Mexican state is one of the leading centers of the aerospace industry in Mexico, as it is home to specialized industrial parks, research centers, educational institutions, and leading companies. Querétaro hosts several prominent manufacturers. Bombardier Aerospace is a key player, with a major facility producing critical aircraft components. Safran, another major aerospace company, operates extensively in Querétaro, focusing on engine components and landing gear systems. The aerospace park in Querétaro also includes Airbus Helicopters, which manufactures and assembles various helicopter parts. Additionally, the French company Figeac Aero has a presence, specializing in aerostructures and precision machining. These companies and others, such as General Electric (GE) Aviation, which produces jet engine components, underscore Querétaro’s strategic importance in the global aerospace supply chain.

Baja California: The border region, especially Tijuana and Mexicali, has experienced significant growth, with several foreign companies having manufacturing and assembly plants in this area. Tijuana, Mexico, is home to several prominent aerospace manufacturers, contributing significantly to the region’s industrial landscape. Among these, the Honeywell Aerospace facility is a significant player, focusing on producing avionics, safety systems, and aircraft engines. GKN Aerospace also has a considerable presence in Tijuana, specializing in advanced aerospace systems and components. Eaton, a global power management company, operates a manufacturing plant in the area, producing hydraulic systems and other critical aerospace parts. Additionally, Gulfstream Aerospace has a facility in Tijuana dedicated to aircraft interiors and structures. These companies and other key industry players like Suntron and Benchmark Electronics reinforce Tijuana’s status as an essential center for aerospace manufacturing in Mexico.

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Chihuahua: This Northern Mexican state has a significant presence in the sector. In Ciudad Juárez and other cities, companies are dedicated to manufacturing aerospace components. Chihuahua, Mexico, has established itself as a crucial center for aerospace manufacturing, hosting several prominent companies. Among the leading manufacturers, Honeywell Aerospace stands out with a substantial facility dedicated to producing aircraft components such as turbines and avionics. Safran also has a significant presence in Chihuahua, focusing on engine components and landing gear systems. Cessna, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation, operates in the region and specializes in assembling and finishing various aircraft models. Additionally, Zodiac Aerospace, now part of Safran, contributes to the aerospace ecosystem by producing aircraft seats and interiors. Other notable companies include Metal Finishing Company (MFCO) and Benchmark Electronics, both of which play vital roles in the supply chain for aerospace components. These manufacturers collectively highlight Chihuahua’s strategic importance in the global aerospace industry.

Nuevo León: The Monterrey Aerocluster has experienced growth, with companies dedicated to the manufacturing and assembly of components. Monterrey, Mexico, is a crucial hub for aerospace manufacturing and is home to several prominent companies in the industry. Among these, the Danish aerospace giant Terma stands out, producing advanced aerostructures and electronic systems. Grupo Alfa, a Mexican multinational, operates in the region through its subsidiary Nemak, which manufactures complex aluminum components for aerospace applications. Quimmco, another significant player, provides precision machining and components for the aerospace sector. In addition, Parker Hannifin has a substantial presence in Monterrey, focusing on hydraulic systems and motion control technologies for aircraft. Furthermore, Frisa Aerospace, a leading supplier of seamless rolled rings and open die forgings, serves the aerospace market from its Monterrey facilities. These companies and others, such as Ducommun and Metal Finishing Company (MFCO), underscore the vital role of the Monterrey Aerocluster in the global aerospace supply chain. 

Sonora, Mexico: This western border state has emerged as a significant player in the aerospace manufacturing sector, hosting several prominent companies. Among these, the French company Safran operates a key facility in Hermosillo, specializing in producing aircraft engine components and landing gear systems. TE Connectivity, a global leader in connectivity and sensor solutions, has a significant presence in Empalme, where it manufactures a variety of aerospace connectors and sensors. In addition, Latecoere, a prominent French aerostructures manufacturer, operates in Hermosillo, focusing on assembling doors and other structural components for aircraft. The state’s aerospace industry is further bolstered by companies like Tetakawi, which provides manufacturing support services to numerous aerospace firms. These companies and others in the region highlight Sonora’s strategic importance in the aerospace supply chain and its growing role in global aerospace.

“I think it is a time of prosperity for companies. It makes me very proud that it is also for the Mexican companies that comprise the industry’s ecosystem,” stressed Erik Palacios.

Aerospace industry companies are spread out among 19 Mexican states

It is estimated that more than 350 plants are in the country, mainly in 19 states. Baja California leads with 97, followed by Sonora with 58 and Chihuahua with 52 plants. The Monterrey Aerocluster is comprised of 45 companies.

Some of the most important companies in the aerospace industry in Mexico are Safran, Bombardier Inc., The Boeing Company, Airbus, Honeywell International Inc., Daher, Dassault Aviation, Ducommun Inc., General Electric Company, GKN Aerospace, and Raytheon Technologies.

Mexico is a significant player in the global aerospace industry

The Monterrey Aerocluster’s remarkable growth and high capacity utilization underscore its strategic importance in the global aerospace supply chain. Comprising 45 predominantly Mexican companies, the Monterrey Aerocluster has demonstrated resilience and adaptability in response to the nearshoring trend, attracting significant foreign direct investment to Nuevo León. The executive director, Erik Palacios, highlighted the unprecedented demand from aerospace clients, which has pushed operations to 90% capacity and beyond. This robust performance is mirrored in other prominent aerospace hubs across Mexico, such as Querétaro, Baja California, Chihuahua, and Sonora, each contributing uniquely to the industry’s landscape. The Monterrey Aerocluster, with its diverse array of companies and significant role in manufacturing and assembling aerospace components, exemplifies the prosperity and potential of Mexican enterprises within the global aerospace ecosystem. As these clusters continue to expand and innovate, they collectively reinforce Mexico’s critical position in the international aerospace sector.

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