Airbus Group has been present in Mexico for more than three decades, during which time it has developed diverse activities in both aircraft sales (the group's activity in Mexico began in civil aviation with Mexicana de Aviación) and helicopter sales (the first helicopters it sold here were for presidential use during President Charles de Gaulle's visit in 1964). Airbus has increased its footprint in Mexico in recent years by collaborating more closely with the country through supplier contracts and manufacturing.
The company is divided into three divisions: Airbus, which focuses on commercial airplanes, Helicopters, which focuses on helicopters, and Defence and Space. The company's primary activities are commercial and supply. First, the company is focused on aircraft sales, with customers including three of Mexico's four major airlines (Interjet, Volaris, and VivaAerobus).
In terms of the latter, the firm purchases from various Mexican vendors; for example, the wiring for the Airbus 380 is created in Chihuahua, while several electromechanical goods for the Airbus 350 are made in Mexicali. It also conducts industrial production in Querétaro, where it has a plant that manufactures aircraft doors.
Airbus Mexico also has a pilot training center in agreement with Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares at its facilities. It is the fifth Airbus center in the world after France, the United States, China, and Singapore.
Airbus' Mexican business, situated at the Mexico City airport, handles sales, support, and maintenance for the company's helicopter fleet. It meets the needs of the federal and state governments, as well as individual clients and Petróleos Mexicanos operators.
Airbus Defence & Space operates military transport aircraft, as well as the 235 and 295 fighter jets, for the armed forces and police, mostly for personnel transport and disaster relief. Satellite imagery is also provided to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food. Similarly, it is dedicated to encrypted communications for the country's law enforcement agencies.
Mexico's Competitive Advantage in the Aerospace Industry: Free Trade Agreements, Skilled Labor, and Growing Clusters
Mexico is a world leader in free trade agreements. It is the country with the most contact with the rest of the globe; this is a huge advantage. The highly competitive and qualified labor force is the second most valuable asset. In recent years, there has been a significant effort at the federal and state levels to train a workforce that is now extremely competitive, even in engineering. This is about far more intricate concerns in terms of value-added than simple production.
Mexico also has an agreement, the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, which was signed in the United States a few years ago and permits Mexico to ratify aeronautical parts. This is very crucial. Respect for intellectual property is highly appreciated in Mexico, at least in the aerospace business, and this is a fantastic asset that allows it to progress forward.
The growth of clusters in the country, such as those in Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, and Querétaro, benefits the aeronautical sector by attracting more investment and suppliers because it is known that there is a value chain to create productive activities. Even factors that appear to be negative for the country (such as the reduction in oil prices) might be beneficial to the aviation industry.
The decline in oil prices is undoubtedly beneficial to aviation companies, as the cost of fuel for an airline ranges between 35 and 40%. As a result, customers profit as prices fall. It is fantastic news for Mexico since it allows homes to save more money, and it will also assist tourism, both domestic and foreign visitors from the north. It will be critical to the economy's competitiveness.
In the next few years, the world supply market is estimated at 3 trillion dollars, more than twice the Mexican GDP. If Mexico would like to go from 6 to 10% of that world market, it would represent an export potential of 300 billion dollars. Today, Mexico has many advantages and can achieve this with public policies to support this sector. Mexico could go very far.