The Mexican aviation industry and its related services have experienced great growth in the last years. However, new challenges and trends are arising that will lead to opportunities, panelists at Mexico Aerospace Forum 2017 said on Wednesday in Mexico City. They warned that while air transportation supply and value chains comprise many elements, all players are chasing the objective of delivering the best possible service.
“The region has demonstrated an above-average dynamism,” said Yuri Salinas, Second Vice President of CANAERO. “We are growing at a 10 percent rate in Mexico and the number of aircraft that airlines receive grows by 14 percent yearly.” While each panelist agreed upon the importance of this growth and the impact it has on their segments, be it commercial aviation or MRO services, they pin this growth to distinct factors and underline a multiplicity of effects across the aviation industry and the trends to tackle.
Miguel Cardona, Commercial Director Mexico of Avianca, pointed out that Latin American aviation has rapidly taken off in the last four years due to factors that boosted regional connectivity. “The fact that Mexico has turned to Latin America has given foot for more services to be offered,” he said. “Intraregional connectivity boosts trade.” This turn to Latin America can be seen in the increased number of routes and flights between Mexico and Latin America. Rodrigo Vázquez, Director General of TAR Aerolíneas, however, had a different view. “In the last years, economic and tourism activities have boosted regional aviation,” he said.
Cardona explained that as aviation grows, so does the airport infrastructure in the region to meet the industry’s needs. “Airports are trying to follow us at this speed,” he said. “As we speak, NAICM, the Tegucigalpa and El Dorado airports are on their way. This will have a multiplying factor that entices airlines to acquire more aircraft and offer more services.” He expects Avianca to continue betting on increasing its routes while paying attention to millennials’ interest in experiences.
TAR Aerolíneas tries to generate connectivity synergies with local players across Mexico to diversify its products base for consumers and to harness growth. According to Rodrigo Vázquez, “cost reductions due to synergies with local actors must be translated into more attractive prices for customers as a form to boost air traffic in the country.” Another strategy that TAR Aerolíneas is implementing to make air transportation more efficient, “is developing routes that connect various regions of the country without having to go to through Mexico City,” he said.
According to Marcos Rosales, Director General of Mexicana MRO, the objective of MROs is the need to deliver services for airlines to fly, so a growing aviation industry and the introduction of new aircraft and aircraft technologies are spurring companies in this sector to deliver. “As aircraft operators acquire more aircraft with newer technologies, MROs are pushed to go over their own expectations to provide at a greater speed,” he said. “Aircraft technology surpasses MROs’ capacity to satisfy clients’ demands from a technical standpoint.” On the other hand, he finds changing regulations is a must to boost MRO services in Mexico. ”We need to comply with DGAC, but we also need to comply with foreign regulations and negotiate with governments to offer our services across the continent,” he said. “We do not need more flexible regulation because that can mean catastrophes, but homologated and standardized regulations.”
Rosales believes that since airlines sell flight seats and MROs sell technician manhours, if the MRO fails to deliver on time, aircraft will end up grounded. However, “the differentiating value that we should be looking at is not price, or turnaround time (TAT) but solving the various needs that clients have in the same plane.”
Roberto Corral, Vice President and General Manager of Innocentro, said MROs must ask themselves how to keep maintenance services lean, fast, fluid and lasting. He identified human capital as a key challenge to counter in the industry. “The regionalization of cities where now small cities need technicians and other aeronautical professionals pushes for more human capital,” he said. “At Innocentro, turnaround time is no longer an issue, but a problem for technicians. And it is very complicated for newly graduated technicians to solve problems.”
On the evolution of the Mexican supply chain in the aerospace sector, Rodrigo Vásquez, said this process is due to the growth in the number of aircraft. “Supply chains are about generating business opportunities for suppliers of services and products that want to participate in this chain and take part in the growth of the aviation industry,” he said.