Before 2020, aviation manufacturing in Mexico was growing fast. But the COVID-19 pandemic reduced exports and travel, slowing aircraft production.
On the other hand, the war between Russia and Ukraine and the COVID-19 variants keep delaying the industry’s recovery.
Luis Lizcano, General Director of the Mexican Federation of the Aerospace Industry (FEMIA), recently said that between 2014 and 2019, aviation manufacturing in Mexico was considered a new sector with exceptional growth, especially in commercial aeronautics.
He also explains that during these years, the industry registered a positive trade balance of 18 percent, and by 2016, Mexico was the 12th largest aerospace exporting country.
For example, in 2019, Mexico had 368 aerospace company clusters. Of those, 86% represent manufacturing plants, followed by Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) divisions with 12% and design and engineering plants with 11%.
Most of those plants are located in the north, with Baja California reporting the most significant number of aerospace facilities.
In total, the sector generated over 60,000 direct jobs in 19 states.
That year, aviation exports amounted to US$9.68 billion, making Mexico the sixth largest exporter of aerospace parts to the United States.
But then, the aviation industry faced a considerable challenge in 2019 with the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, though its production continued until early 2020.
Once production of this model stopped, Boeing’s shares dropped by 3.3%
At the same time, COVID-19 cases started to increase, impacting the global economy seriously as well as economic development in Mexico.
Both scenarios affected the aerospace industry, with OEMs dramatically reducing the production of new planes and global air passenger traffic dropping to levels not seen in decades.
Commercial aircraft orders decreased by 59% in 2020 globally. In April of the same year, Mexico’s aerospace exports reduced by 31.8 percent.
Luckily, Mexico’s aerospace industry started to bounce back in 2021. Nevertheless, the sector has not regained its pre-pandemic numbers.
Experts hope for an increase of 16% in exports by the end of 2022 and surpassing 2019’s levels until 2024.
Boosting the industry’s recovery is the fact that people are traveling again, which will increase the demand for narrow-body planes.
Demand for air cargo also increased following the e-commerce boom, pushing airlines to transform their fleet according to the market’s needs.
Predictions for the future
The global industry market outlook indicates that fleet versatility will be emphasized. The global context still affects the cargo sector, but the COVID-19 outbreak made it more relevant to the economy.
Although the sector is rebounding, companies must focus on building more resilient supply chains that can handle future shocks.
This means being prepared to bear highly disruptive events and quickly recover.
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