First Major Aerospace Show in Mexico Gets Boeing’s Attention

Mexico last week completed its first-ever major aerospace industry show last week, attracting a Boeing booth, about 25 Boeing people and a pair of Boeing military helicopters on display.

For Seattle-based Mexican Consul-general Eduardo Baca Cuenca, the April 22 to 25 event reflects what he hopes will be stronger ties between Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Mexico, and more Boeing business there.

Already, Mexican airlines are significant purchasers of Boeing aircraft. But Baca, who attended the “Mexico’s Aerospace Fair 2015” outside Mexico City, wants to see Boeing and its prime contractors buying more from Mexican parts suppliers and investing more in production there.

“We certainly hope that looking at capabilities and characteristics in Mexico, which has grown a lot — certainly it is worthwhile for Boeing to look at,” he said. “They have suppliers all around the world and we’re right next door. We hope it can increase.”

While at the show, Boeing displayed Chinook CH-47 and a AH-6I military helicopters, suggesting that at least part of Boeing’s emphasis was selling aircraft to the armed forces in Latin America.

Representatives from 200 companies from around the world attended the three-day event.

But Baca also hopes that Boeing will decide to build its own commercial aircraft facilities in Mexico. As precedent, he pointed to Bombardier, which operates an executive jet assembly plant in Mexico, and GE Aviation, which assembles engine parts there.

Baca said he has no insight into what Boeing executives are thinking, but he added that he believes that annual participation in the Mexican air show will develop more connections that will help lead to investment.

A Boeing spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Baca added that rising Boeing production, coupled with the company’s efforts to keep down costs, could make Mexico’s reputation for low-cost manufacture more important to Boeing.

“With the growth in the sector in the last five years, and the sector expanding worldwide, and the geographic position of Mexico — we can see a rise in participation of Mexican (aerospace) companies and companies set up in Mexico,” he said. “The realization of the Mexican government is that this is a priority sector that’s attracting investment and can generate a lot of employment as well.”

The Mexican aerospace sector is projected to grow 17 percent in 2015, he said.

Mexico is the largest assembler of automobiles in Latin America, and Baca suggested that could form a basis for more aircraft work.

“What we have learned, or more precisely what the industry has learned in the automotive sector, is to have the whole ecosystem around it,” he said. “That has contributed very much to making the automotive sector grow very much in last 10 to 15 years.”


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