Bombardier: Pioneers to Leaders
In less than a decade, Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier has gone from pioneer to leader in Mexico's burgeoning aerospace industry.
The rise of Canadian aerospace company Bombardier in Mexico has been nothing short of breathtaking.
Not content with gaining a foothold in Mexico by opening its aerospace facility in Querétaro in 2005, the company has continued to grow thanks to a total investment of 500 million USD in its central Mexico plant.
With some 1,800 mainly Mexican employees, Bombardier is now as synonymous with Querétaro as the local football team, Querétaro FC. Its benefit to the local economy has been huge, but if Bombardier has been good for Querétaro, then so too has Querétaro been good for Bombardier.
That is a fact freely acknowledged by Joelle Cournoyer, the company's Vice President of Operations in Mexico. "We have been very impressed with our Mexican workforce. They are young, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. Couple that with the fantastic cooperation we receive from state and federal governments and you can see how we have been so successful in Mexico," she says.
Cournoyer recalls Bombardier's close connections with Querétaro began in 2005 when the company announced the city's selection as its location for additional manufacturing capacity with an initial investment of 200 million USD. One year later, Bombardier began manufacturing the flight control for the Q400 turboprop, as well as the aft fuselage for the Global family of business jets.
In 2008, the company announced that its Querétaro facility would be responsible for the manufacture of the major composite structures for its new Learjet 85 aircraft program, bringing an additional investment of 250 million USD to its Mexico operation.
And in 2011, a mere five years after starting its Querétaro operation, Bombardier announced a further 50 million USD investment for the manufacture of the aft fuselage for its new Global 7000 and Global 8000 business jets.
Cournoyer can't hide her glee at Bombardier's Mexican success story. "Our decision to set up in Querétaro has been a great success. When we were looking around for an additional manufacturing facility, Mexico was a stand out because the country had a good economy and was a member of NAFTA, as was Canada. There was a large labor force available and strong support from federal and state governments. All these factors were big plusses, great advantages for us. Setting up in Querétaro is a decision we have never had cause to regret," she says.
The VP admitted that the advantages of NAFTA have been considerable and important in Bombardier's success in Mexico. "It can't be denied that being able to benefit from better tariffs for goods and services, labor mobility, allowances, policies encouraging local investments, and more have helped us enormously. For example, we recently, had the successful completion of the new Learjet 85's first test flight.
Querétaro's input to the Learjet 85 project is the fuselage manufacturing and wing assembly. Of specific note is Querétaro's participation in the development of advanced composite technologies and materials for the Learjet 85's fuselage. We are very happy with the quality of those composite parts and are now concentrating on refining our production process," Cournoyer says.
Bombardier has sponsored several environmental projects in Querétaro but it is the educational links between the company and colleges in the area that Cournoyer finds particularly pleasing. "One other thing that pleases me greatly is how we have integrated into the fabric of Querétaro society and we now have links to several institutions of higher education. We have collaboration agreements with the Aeronautic University in Querétaro (UNAQ) and the nearby Technological University of San Juan del Río to develop aerospace training programs and we also have collaboration agreements that include thesis projects, working internships, recruitment programs and job opportunities at the Valle de México University, the National Polytechnic Institute, the Technological Institute of Querétaro, the Autonomous University of Querétaro and the Tecnológico de Monterrey," Cournoyer says.
In conclusion, Cournoyer states: "When we started in 2005, we were aerospace pioneers and now we are working to become leaders in our field in Mexico. We are very proud to be in Querétaro and we plan to continue our success for the benefit not only of this federal entity but also of the whole country."