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A landing strip for aerospace companies

Article - November 2, 2012
Querétaro has become a hub for companies through the development of its ambitious aerospace industrial park

The arrival of aerospace companies in Mexico continues without interruption. Foreign direct investment (FDI) received by Mexico through aerospace totalled $1 billion and generated over $4 billion dollars in exports. At present, the country has 300 aerospace companies spread across 15 states, but it is showing Querétaro’s potential. The state accounts for almost a quarter of the country’s aerospace companies and enterprise exports are equivalent to 36 per cent of the total in the country.

Within walking distance of the Intercontinental Airport of Querétaro is AeroTech Industrial Park, the result of a strategic alliance between American Industries Group and Abitat Constructora Queretana. The space has an area of __85 hectares and a capacity for about 24 industrial buildings, which is expected to create 300 direct jobs for every one of them. At full capacity, the aerospace park would provide 7,000 direct jobs for the region.

AeroTech is defined as an integrated aerospace cluster that connects producers, research and development, design and engineering, universities and technical schools. Also known as Querétaro Aerospace Valley, the park has 30 aerospace companies and suppliers manufacturers, three MRO’s, three centres of innovation and development, three design and engineering centres, five service companies, three educational institutions and a network of innovation and research. Overall, 50 active members have so far generated 3,600 direct jobs and an estimated growth projected at 255 per cent for 2012.

The educational aspect operates through the Centre for Aviation Industry Development (CEDIA), which brings together four universities (two Canadian, one French and one Mexican), training students and creating technology solutions for the aerospace industry. Furthermore, the Research and Innovation Network Querétaro Aerospace (RIIAQ) integrates research centres and institutions of higher education in order to promote high-level research and training of specialists and certified facilities for the aviation industry.

The benefits can be summarised in a highly-skilled local workforce and efficient network of suppliers of products and processes that serve fuels, aero engines and materials such as telemedicine services, navigation and meteorology. The aerospace cluster strategic model encourages the creation of areas of opportunity and technology transfer between foreign and domestic companies.

Still in its early stage of development, the AeroTech and the Eurocopter has a building with a capacity to serve 22 helicopters constantly. The Franco-German company exceeded expectations by 30 per cent in 2011, basically producing sub-assemblies and distributing aircraft parts worldwide, although expectations for this year for reaching an agreement for the manufacture of Airbus parts to EADS group are even better.

AeroTech also has a warehouse of 8,408 square metres. Its managers aim to encourage industrial development within the park, but also to seek investors interested in developing hotels and shopping centres. It is expected that in the next two years the park will reach 100 per cent capacity.