Aerospace Industry: Tijuana Flying High
Long considered one of the primary economic drivers of the southwestern Unites States and, more recently, a key growth industry in Europe, Brazil and Asia, aerospace and defense manufacturing is emerging as an important sector in Mexico’s economy as well, with Tijuana having the largest concentration of aerospace companies in the country.
Baja California stands as Mexico’s top aerospace cluster, with more than 76 aerospace companies operating within the state. The city of Tijuana alone is home to the largest concentration of operating aerospace firms in the country (37) and has been developing a specialized aerospace and defense manufacturing ecosystem for the last 40 years. Most of these aerospace companies and American and manufacture parts for companies such as Honeywell, Goodrich and Gulfstream.
The aerospace companies produce a wide variety of items, from electronic components, air conditioning systems and cable harnesses, to steel bolts for commercial and military aircraft. Their advantage is their proximity to the US and to Western ports that ship to the Asian markets. They have access to a large, high-tech workforce in Tijuana, made up of engineers, technicians and software developers. But the main reason the companies come to Baja is simple: The cost of that highly skilled labor is low — about one-third of what it is in the US.
Currently, Tijuana’s aerospace industry employs more than 11,000 skilled laborer. And that number has been growing steadily since 2007, when Mexico dropped import duties on aeronautics components.
Due to the aerospace industry’s growth in Tijuana has created increased demand for specialized talent and Tijuana’s universities have stepped up to meet it with a growing number of aerospace programs. Four universities in the city offer aerospace educational programs tailored to the industry’s requirements.
Annually, Mexico graduates more engineers than the US – coupled with a population with an average age of less than 30 years old, provides long term opportunities in the aerospace industry and its continued growth in the region.