Aerospace Regional News Issue 78

Airbus is considering Mexico for final assembly

Along with the development of the aerospace industry, Mexico may become the final manufacturer of helicopters to be sold worldwide by the European Airbus Manufactures Company, explained Frederick Garcia, Director of the firm in Mexico. He stated that the possibility is under analysis and the company will make a decision this year. He explained that the Airbus goal is not only to sell airplanes to Mexico, but they wish to become full-fledged “Business Partners” in the Aerospace Industry via technology development, job making and personnel training. Garcia announced that in 2016 a Training Center for Pilots of Airbus will start to operate on airports lands operated by the Auxiliary Services (ASA) in Mexico City and Monterrey. Their combined capacity is to train 500 pilots per year.

Growth of the aerospace industry in Baja California

Esterline and Hutchinson Aerospace announced the growth of their operations in Baja California with a total investment of US$75 million. The announcement took place during the 51st edition of the “International Paris Air Show” in June. In the case of Esterline, the company estimates an investment of US$35 million and an increase of 300 people in its workforce this year. This is a result of expanding its divisions of sensors, connectors and plastic molding in Tijuana. Meanwhile, Hutchinson plans an investment of US$40 million dollars over the next five years. The firm wants to increase their response capacity corresponding to the growth they have had in their manufacturing operations in Ensenada.

NAICM´s Construction works begin in September

Mexico City´s New International Airport (AICM) project could start construction by September 2015, announced Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, head of the Ministry of Communications and Transports (SCT). The officer noted that the hydraulic work is already being conducted for the new airfield. Construction will start as soon as the architectural, engineering projects and bidding processes are ready.

QET Tech Aerospace is now a FAA 145 Repair Station

QET Tech Aerospace has received the FAA145 certification. This allows them to do maintenance in Mexico on aircraft registered in the USA, The FAA 145 certificate includes ratings for A320 Line maintenance, CRJ200 Heavy Maintenance and the Marathon Norco Battery shop. The U.S. government has lifted the ban implemented on November 18, 2009. This prevented new companies outside the U.S. from receiving certifications for repair stations by the FAA. QTA is the first company in Mexico to obtain the new certification since the ban was lifted.

Safran will invest US$15.4 million in Queretaro

“We are planning to invest about US$15.4 million from 2015 to 2018. We will keep on increasing our parts production volume, due to the growing demands from our customers Airbus and Boeing,” reported Mascre Vincent, CEO of Messier Bugatti-Dowty. “We’re really proud of the results obtained so far,” he said, “…and based on these results we made decisions to continue investing in the future.” He shared this information during a recent event to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Messier-Dowty Mexico.

Mexican Navy receives winglet-equipped Airbus C295W

The Mexican Navy has received the first Airbus C295W medium transport aircraft equipped with winglets. The navy is the launch customer for the C295W, which will be able to transport a greater payload across longer distances. At the same time it will offer a fuel savings of around 4%, as compared with the C295 without winglets. Antonio Rodriguez, head of business in Latin America, Airbus Defense and Space, said: “It is a particular pleasure to deliver this first aircraft to Mexico, which already has the biggest Airbus Defense and Space transport fleet in Latin America.”

Bombardier strengthens its manufacture of aerospace components

Bombardier announced that a new production line will be installed soon at its Queretaro plant. “Queretaro´s facilities are strategic to Bombardier´s commercial operation”, said Alfredo Nolasco, Head of Operations for Bombardier in Mexico. He added that the company expects to step things up with this new production line following last year’s job cuts. Nolasco stated that Bombardier´s restructuring process is now complete. He reiterated that restoring the growth of Bombardier Mexico will help maintain industry growth nationwide, since Mexico is already the Latin American aerospace leader over Brazil.

Mexico offers favorable outlook for aerospace: Airbus

A substantial increase in acquisitions is anticipated for the global aerospace market within the next 20 years and it is projected that Mexico will become one of the most important countries in this sector, observed Frederic Garcia, President of Airbus Mexico. Mexico has earned this position prompted by its favorable industrial policies and its skilled labor which allows Airbus to maintain and increase its investments. According to Airbus, the largest fleet of C295 in Latin America is in Mexico. This is because its Navy is the launch customer of the latest version of this market-leading transport plane, the new C295W equipped with winglets.

Baja California will assemble business jets

Spectrum Aeronautical announced that its executive model S-40, the first airplane to be made entirely in Mexico, will be manufactured in Mexicali, Baja California. Linden Blue is President of the Company. He said that this production is part of the Spectrum 33 Project, which will build a completely new assembly line at the “Silicon Border” Park located on the boundaries of the Mexicali International Airport. It will feature a US$300 million investment for the completion of the design, certification and production of the aircraft. Mr. Blue added that Baja California was chosen “because of its geographical proximity to the aerospace industry in California, as well as for its highly skilled workforce. We expect the Mexican engineers working in Spectrum 33 to produce 200 S40 jets in the first year of factory operation.”

Mexico’s Volaris chooses Airbus flight training services

The Mexican low-cost airline Volaris has selected ‘Training by Airbus’ to offer A320 flight simulator training and courses in Miami and Mexico. The move is part of an agreement that includes more than 25,000 flight training hours for 500 pilots. Training under the agreement for Volaris’ pilots has already started at the Airbus Training Center in Miami. Flight training in Mexico City began in 2015. Volaris is an all-Airbus fleet operator and a total of 74 aircraft to date have been ordered. Currently they have 47 A320 Family aircraft in operation.

El Bajio, a growing supplier for the aeronautics sector: Boeing

Boeing has found at El Bajio, mainly located in Queretaro, a rapidly growing sector in the aeronautics industry, said Robert Noble, Boeing’s Vice-president of the Suppliers Management Division. He explained that even if there is growth in every region in Mexico, “a really good job has been done in this zone to promote their wish to attract aerospace companies and provide support for their consolidation there.” Among Boeing’s outstanding suppliers are Curtiss Wright Controls, Safran-Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, plus Safran-Snecma Mexico from Queretaro. There is also Tighitco in San Luis Potosi.

Honeywell Aerospace opens new manufacturing plant in Mexicali

Honeywell celebrated the opening of a new manufacturing plant in the City of Mexicali, Mexico, in December of 2014. This new plant had an investment of around $27 million dollars and will generate 250 new jobs. All of this happened during the plant’s initial opening phase. This new manufacturing plant is 118,000 square feet and will be used for the manufacture of heat exchangers and other important mechanical components needed by the aerospace industry. The new manufacturing plant is an extension of the first Mexicali Aerospace plant founded in 1979. Currently, Honeywell Aerospace Mexicali has 2,000 employees on its campus and growth to 2,200 is expected in 2018.

Alcoa Corporation is generating employment in Coahuila

Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings recently announced a US$37.7 million investment for the new plant in Ciudad Acuña. An estimated 1,700 new jobs will be generated. With this new addition, the number of investment projects underway in Coahuila increases to 87 and counting. They are currently valued at US$3.6 million. According to the Ministry of Economy, more than half of these funds came from FDI, which is the largest amount recorded in the last 25 years. In addition, Coahuila ranks second in exports in Mexico. The State´s Governor Ruben Moreira pointed out that during his administration, 98,335 jobs have been created. From the January to May 2015 period 21,268 positions were created.

Russian company invests in Aerospace MRO in Jalisco

The Russian Craft Avia Center Company, an MRO for Russian Helicopters, has been established at the Guadalajara´s International Airport. This was made possible with an investment of US$1.6 million, and is expected to create 50 direct jobs and another 100 indirect jobs. Jose Palacios Jimenez, from the Ministry of Economic Development, said that the growth of aerospace companies has strengthened in the last years. The accomplishment is documented with 22 firms contributing to progress with advanced technology and generating nearly 2,394 new jobs. An FDI of over US$516,000 is expected to be reached. “The Aerospace Industry Agency considers Jalisco as one of the five development poles in Mexico”, Mr. Jimenez remarked.

ST Aerospace will open an MRO workshop in Chihuahua City

Sergio Ochoa Muñoz, one of the investors in this project, said that the Singapore-based Corporation ST Aerospace, world leader in aircraft maintenance, is among the group of investors which, together with eight local businessmen, will open an aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) workshop in Chihuahua City in 2015. This comes with an investment totaling US$40 million. Mr. Munoz said that the workshop will be constructed on 20 hectares of land adjoining the Chihuahua International Airport. He said that it will initially generate 270 direct jobs, but the total might reach 1,500. The average salaries will be US$5 per hour. He said that Luis Lara, American Industries CEO, and members from the Terrazas and Mesta families, as well as other businessmen from Chihuahua City are promoting this project.

USTI will assemble unmanned aircraft in Nuevo Leon

Unmanned Systems Technology International (USTI) will manufacture the first unmanned airplane in Mexico in Nuevo Leon. It will be 100% made and designed in the State. The first 20 aircraft will be produced this year. Mauricio Ramos Pons, the USTI President, said that the straight-line transmission range for these aircraft is from 30 to 100 kilometers (18 to 62 miles) in order to send information to the base in real time. The craft reaches a 12,000-foot altitude and can stay airborne for seven hours using unleaded gasoline. Mr. Ramos explained that the vehicle’s purposes are mainly military and safety, but the versatility of the UAV MX-1 and its equipment make it suitable for use in sectors such as oil fields, agriculture, power generation, railroads, telecommunications and scientific research. Ramos Pons mentioned that the plant where unmanned aircraft will be produced is located in Monterrey and US$5 million have been invested there to date.

Bell Helicopter Seals Deal for 15 Bell 407GXs to the Mexican Air Force

Bell Helicopter is a Textron, Inc., company. Recently it announced the sale of 15 Bell 407GXs to the Mexican Air Force (FAM) with deliveries to begin this year. The aircraft will be configured for a variety of para-public missions. As the primary aircraft operating branch of the Mexican Armed Forces, the FAM covers the entire country and maintains 18 military air bases located across the country. The FAM have been operating Bell helicopters since 1973 with the delivery of a Bell 206-B. Their fleet currently includes a Bell 412EP, Bell 212 and a Bell 206. The Bell 407GXs will be operated by the 111th Air Squadron based at the Military Airbase in Zapopan, Jalisco.

Bombardier pauses its Learjet 85 program

Bombardier has announced a pause in its Learjet 85 business aircraft program. The pause is due to weak demand for the Learjet 85 aircraft which has followed a downward revision of Bombardier’s business aircraft market forecast. This has reflected the continued weakness of the Light aircraft category since the economic downturn. As a result, the Company recorded a pre-tax special charge in the fourth quarter of 2014 totaling approximately $1.4 billion. This is mainly related to the impairment of the Learjet 85 development costs. Additionally, Bombardier reduced its workforce by approximately 1,000 employees at its sites in Querétaro, Mexico, and Wichita, Kansas, in the U.S.