As a state with longstanding metal-mechanic and maquila traditions, Nuevo Leon has potential to increase its importance as one of the main strongholds of the Mexican aerospace industry. The global demand for new aircraft over the next 20 years brings new opportunities for players in the state to grow and further insert themselves into the global aerospace supply chain.

Airbus’ Global Market Forecast 2018-2037 projects that the global aircraft fleet will more than double over the next two decades to reach 47,990 aircraft by 2037. This means the introduction of 37,390 new aircraft that will replace 10,850 aging planes and support growing aviation needs.

Boeing’s forecast for the same period is more ambitious. The US planemaker’s Commercial Market Outlook 2018-2037 forecasts projects that the world’s commercial fleet will soar to 48,540 planes and 42,730 new aircraft deliveries will be needed over the next two decades. Of these new planes, 18,590 will replace aircraft and the remaining 24,140 will support a soaring demand for plane tickets powered by growing middle classes, economic growth and changing airline business models.

Nuevo Leon received 13 percent of the US$3.14 billion that Mexico’s aerospace industry received between 1999 and 2H18, according to data from the Ministry of Economy. This means new opportunities to supply aerospace components. More than 20 aerospace companies have taken root in Nuevo Leon. Both world-class foreign aerospace Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers such as Honeywell Aerospace, PCC Aerostructures, Parker Aerospace and MD Helicopters as well as Mexican players such as MIMSA, FRISA, EZI Metales, ABT Manufacturing and Grupo Quimmco service the global industry from the state.

In order to more effectively insert themselves into global aerospace supply chains and take advantage of the projected demand for new aircraft, companies in Nuevo Leon can approach Monterrey Aerocluster for support. This nonprofit organization promotes the development of the state’s aerospace sector and specializes in helping local suppliers enter both global and national aerospace value chains.

Carlos Ramírez, President of Monterrey Aerocluster and Claire Barnouin, Executive Director of Monterrey Aerocluster by Monterrey Aerocluster.

In this edition of the Interview of the Week, Mexico Aviation and Aerospace Review presents an excerpt from an exclusive interview with Carlos Ramírez and Claire Barnouin, President and Executive Director of Monterrey Aerocluster, respectively. The complete interview was originally published in the 2018 edition of Mexico Aviation and Aerospace Review.

Barnouin will be taking part in the “The Aerospace Industry Pre-USMCA” panel during Mexico Aerospace Forum 2018. Register now and get your tickets for this event to find out more about how Monterrey Aerocluster is supporting local suppliers in Nuevo Leon.

Q: What is the most important contribution that Monterrey Aerocluster makes to the aerospace industry in Mexico and Nuevo Leon?

CR: The aerospace sector in Nuevo Leon is still in an early stage and the infrastructure for this industry remains underdeveloped. But the region has a strong metal mechanic segment and these companies can adapt to supply the needs of the aeronautics sector. Monterrey Aerocluster helps its members with this process by providing training courses and helping with the preparation to acquire the certifications needed to enter the industry, since aeronautic companies require suppliers to sustain their growth programs. Monterrey Aerocluster has started integrating advanced manufacturing companies among its members. Once this process is complete, we expect to have 25 new members capable of supplying the needs of OEMs and Tier 1 and 2 suppliers interested in entering the cluster.

Q: How does Monterrey Aerocluster support its members?

CR: First, Monterrey Aerocluster trains its members in the AS 9100 quality management system and provides them with affordable courses that prepare both internal and lead auditors in this certification. Second, we often take part in national and international aerospace events as part of our promotional and networking efforts. Third, we approach local universities to support the generation of human resources who possess the skills the industry demands. Fourth, Monterrey Aerocluster collaborates with other clusters in and outside of Mexico and takes part in FEMIA’s National Suppliers Development Program to stimulate interest in the state’s aerospace industry. We expect to turn Nuevo Leon into a breeding ground for potential industry suppliers through this program as a growing number of companies consider participating in this sector. In 2017, Parker-Stratoflex, Parker-Chomerics, ABT Manufacturing, PS Advanced and Proquímica entered Monterrey Aerocluster. These companies either are ready to enter the aerospace sector or are interested in it.

CB: The AS 9100 certification is the ISO of the aerospace sector. This quality-management certification is part of the boarding pass to this industry. Aerospace businesses will not pay any attention to manufacturing companies that lack this certification. Once a company is certified, it is integrated into a global database called OASIS. Being part of this database is a way to put companies on the global aerospace map, so it helps companies enter the supply chain. Monterrey Aerocluster also helps its members access the Nadcap certification of special processes, such as materials testing, anodized coating, heat treatments and similar secondary manufacturing processes required to elaborate final products.

Q: How does Monterrey Aerocluster boost the development of the aerospace industry in Mexico?

CR: We focus on two main sectors: manufacturing and MRO. Monterrey Aerocluster has an ongoing training and FAA certification project for local MROs to provide maintenance to aircraft with foreign registration. These certifications could spur significant growth as they attract private aviation companies and aircraft that usually go to Texas for these services.

CB: On the other hand, Monterrey Aerocluster connects manufacturing companies through industrial tours. Aérocluster Queretaro and Chihuahua Aerospace Cluster have organized industrial tours for our members. We have done the same for companies from other regions to raise awareness about what is being done in Nuevo Leon. Monterrey Aerocluster helps Tier 2 and 3 companies enter FEMIA’s National Suppliers Development Program and provides uncertified companies — including advanced manufacturing SMEs — certification and training programs. For instance, the cluster organized the Aerospace Industrial Meeting in June 2017. Ninety people took part in this event, including several nonmember companies that possess the abilities demanded by the sector and are interested in entering it but which require the certification.

Q: How is Monterrey Aerocluster collaborating with academic institutions?

CB: Representatives from academic institutions take part in our work committees, assemblies and board meetings. We go to promotional events together. UANL leads our human development committee. This committee’s objective is to develop a training plan that addresses the needs of companies in the sector. Monterrey Aerocluster also works closely with CONALEP and UANL’s Álvaro Obregón Technical College to strengthen the study plans for technicians who will enter the aerospace market. Technicians specialized in machines and appliances are in high demand in the aerospace industry and Monterrey Aerocluster acts as a bridge between the school and the industry.

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