The rapid growth of the aerospace industry across Mexico has led to many job opportunities for Mexican engineers and technicians, not just for the low-paid, assembly line workers traditionally associated with maquilas (factories).
Teresa Jesus Rio Ramos, a production supervisor for Cobham – a defence systems manufacturing company that moved to Tijuana in 1997 – believes that aerospace and defence companies offer the most stable, best paid jobs of all the Tijuana maquilas.
Although Mexico’s association with aerospace dates back to 1966, the industry’s seeds were truly sown in 2006 when Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier opened a plant in Queretaro to produce parts for its Global 5000 and 6000 jets. Currently employing 1,700 workers, the company recently decided to use the plant to build the exterior of the company's Learjet 85 – a new corporate jet due out in 2013. As a result Bombardier intends to increase its Mexican workforce to 2500 by the end of 2012.
In total, the aerospace industry currently employs about 32,000 people across 16 states in Mexico, with almost half in Baja California and 7,313 in Tijuana alone. And confidence is high; the state government believes that by the end of 2012, another seven aerospace companies will have set up shop in Baja California.