Mexico has the opportunity to develop its aerospace industry by inserting itself into the supply chain, just like in the aviation industry, Francisco Mendieta, Director General of the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), told the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2017 on Wednesday at the Mexico City Hotel Sheraton María Isabel.
“The aerospace sector is the next frontier. In Mexico, we want to participate in this group of nations that uses space for social and governmental development,” said Mendieta.
Mendieta, the forum’s keynote speaker, said that in 2016 alone, the global aerospace industry generated approximately US$329 billion. Should Mexico participate with only 1 percent of its worth, it would account for the generation of over US$3 billion in the country. “The telecommunications sector offers important participation opportunities for Mexico, through which we could easily reach this 1 percent of participation in the global sector.”
Development does not come easy, but Mendieta mentioned that since 2012, when the AEM was created, it has been working to create public policies aimed at doing just that. “Mexico is about to present a public policy for satellites. Its goal is to develop satellite parts and to develop a supply chain, just as was done in the aviation industry.”
Although the aerospace sector offers significant opportunities in several niches, Mendieta said three key sectors stand out when deliberating Mexico’s participation. “Telecommunications, observation and GPS for transportation are three industry niches where Mexico could position and play a role.”
Particularly in the telecommunications segment, Mendieta said that the implementation of structural reforms undertaken in the current political administration had fostered development that had benefited the population. “MEXSAT’s satellites allow Internet access to the majority of the country’s population, mobile phone services and national security actions.”
Mendieta acknowledged that Mexico’s participation in the aerospace industry had been at best intermittent; however, the country’s expertise in information technologies could help lead the way. “Countries like Mexico, without deep experience in the aerospace industry can start to position themselves through the development of electronics and software.”
Though neglected for several years, Mendieta said the current political administration had recognized the value of the industry through the National Development Plan. “The development of the aerospace sector is embedded in the federal government’s ‘Prosperous Mexico’ guiding principle.” He added that AEM is focusing on developing regional capacities. “Using their IT expertise, Jalisco and Zacatecas will become development hubs.”
Mendieta said the market is enormous and that the agency aims to play a key role in the sector while contributing to the development of industry infrastructure and in training human capital, but that it cannot do it alone. “We have many things in our favor. In Mexico, the aerospace industry is a nascent sector, but we need to attract investment and to develop alliances.”