The aerospace cluster in Tijuana has seen great growth in the last 40 years. Due to the industrial space and available parks, 50 companies have chosen Tijuana to set up, and have operated successfully, obtaining a continuous material reception and delivery flow because of the strategic location of the city, which allows direct communication with national and international ports, as well as with the United States.
Tijuana hosts four times the aerospace sector in Mexico. For the city, this cluster represents a very valuable source of employment.
In the last decade, the number of workers in the area doubled, reaching 15,000 employees providing specialized production with low-cost manufacturing.
The increase of aerospace companies in Tijuana and maquiladoras in Mexico is explained, on the one hand, by the manufacturing, assembly, and processing quality of the Mexican workforce. The US quality standards, for example, are among the highest, but Mexican manufacturing meets the requirements, which makes it even more valuable.
Currently, the city has 2% of available industrial space, so the potential for aerospace growth is still ascending.
Forbes estimates that air traffic will increase at an annual rate of 4.7% over the next 20 years. The Mexican Secretariat of Economy estimates that by 2020, the aerospace industry in Mexico will occupy one of the first 10 places worldwide, which is a good reason for starting a business in Mexico.
Currently, higher education schools in Tijuana have engineering programs and other areas focused on the industry, to meet the needs of maquiladoras in Mexico. The city can provide excellent automotive manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, and contract manufacturing solutions.
The Mexican aerospace industry has five main hubs, located in the states of Baja California (Tijuana-Mexicali), Sonora, Chihuahua, Querétaro, and Nuevo León. Baja California is the largest, with more than 125 aerospace firms supporting more than 37,000 direct jobs before the pandemic.
The aerospace industry is relatively young in Mexico, but its roots are deep. In the State of Baja California, for example, one firm has been in the market for more than 60 years, and aerospace is one of its leading business sectors. Mexico’s aerospace industry is an excellent example of growth, foreign investment attraction, and job creation. Based on the most recent available official figures from the Mexican Aerospace Industry Federation (FEMIA), the industry experienced 14 percent average annual export growth from 2004–2019, was responsible for the creation of more than 55,000 jobs, and accounted for up to USD 6 billion in accumulated direct foreign investment (2007–2017).
Moreover, global demand for new aircraft and maintenance services—and growing air passenger flows worldwide—support a positive perspective for the industry post-COVID-19.
Like much of the Mexican economy, in 2020-2021, the aerospace industry was severely affected by the pandemic.
According to FEMIA, Mexican exports declined between 32 and 35 percent in 2020. The sector was hit hard by the worldwide decline in passenger air traffic, estimated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to be a total of 48 percent. Despite this, Mexico has fared better than most in its recovery. Mexico ranks third best worldwide for the number of domestic and international seats offered in 2021, despite predictions that it would be 15 percent less than in 2019.