Mexico Sets Sights on Aerospace Future

The president of Mexico says he hopes the country will one day become an independent power in aerospace. The sudden boost in confidence came as the leader welcomed the opening of two new plants owned by French engine and parts supplier, Safran.

The plants will make parts for Safran-owned jet engines and undercarriages. But, President Felipe Calderon has his sights set on more. “We have decided to make a competitive production chain that will permit this country, in years to come, to fly an aircraft completely designed and built in Mexico,” said Calderon.

The $150 million Safran investment is just the latest of a growing list of aerospace companies looking to Mexico because wages are cheap and workers have little rights. The French company is already the largest aerospace employer in Mexico with 3,000 employees. And just this past February, U.S.-owned Hawker Beechcraft announced it was shutting production down in Salinas, Kansas, and moving to Mexico – taking over a hundred U.S. jobs with it. The announcement came as a major blow to Kansas workers who have already seen aerospace unemployment soar in the wake of the global financial crisis and negative publicity over the use of corporate jets.