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Interview with Managing Director of FAMEX, Edgar S. Rodríguez Franco

General P.A.D.E.M.A. Edgar Salvador Rodríguez Franco is the Managing Director of FAMEX 2017.

“At a continental level, Mexico is a point of reference for the aeronautical industry, since to date it has more than 330 companies across the country”.

FAMEX, the Mexico Aerospace Trade Fair, was held from 26 to 29 April for the second time. What new developments have taken place with regard to FAMEX 2015?

Indeed, the Mexico Aerospace Trade Fair 2017 was held at the end of April. A larger number of participating firms registered and more stationary aircraft were on display. We organised an Aerospace Summit, which involved a series of conferences and panels at the highest level in the aeronautical and aerospace industries. For the very first time, a seminar on the aeronautical and defence industries of Mexico and Brazil was held, at which authorities, entrepreneurs and business leaders from both countries dealt with topics that allowed them to interchange experiences and technology transfers, among other matters.

 

Mexico has become one of Latin America’s main aeronautical industry centres, and also of the world. What does it mean for a country to organise an event like this and what positive effect does it have on your industry after having analysed the success achieved the first time it was held?

At a continental level, Mexico is a point of reference for the aeronautical industry, since to date it has more than 330 companies across the country and it can be said that one of its strengths is that it is United States’ sixth most important supplier. We managed to export $6.6 billion in 2015 alone. We are ranked as the world’s 15th largest exporter and our infrastructures comprised of more than 56 airports backs us to continue increasing economic development.

For Mexico, organising this kind of event has firstly become a commitment aimed at backing and driving forward the country’s economic development. Secondly, it is a challenge, as it managed to consolidate itself the first time it was held and to show the entire world the country’s striking aeronautical and industrial development. This second trade fair had forced us to redouble our efforts and ensure it was even better and capable of exceeding many of the achievements reached in 2015.

 

According to the latest data released by the government, the Mexican aeronautical industry attained an annual growth rate of 35% over the last three years. By 2020, it could become the tenth country in the world having the greatest production in the industry. What are the main factors that have made this impressive growth possible in the country’s aeronautical industry?

The international aeronautical community recognises that the specialised labour provided by Mexican engineers and technicians is considered among the best in the world. Good proof of this is the fact that our country signed a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the USA, as well as the Wassenaar Arrangement, placing the country among the countries granted internationally recognised certifications.

Furthermore, the federal government has boosted the implementation of a programme aimed at modernising twelve international airports, the most outstanding aspect of which is the construction of a new international airport in the City of Mexico. This industry’s development has been boosted, resulting in a rise from the 70 companies which existed in 2007 to the more than 330 that are registered today.

 

One of the main challenges is the local supply chain’s growth so it can meet the demands of large aeronautical manufacturers. What policies have been implemented to favour the Mexican supply chain?

It is expected that local and foreign suppliers will be attracted to meet global retrofitting needs through the organisation of FAMEX 2017. However, due to the degree of specialisation of aeronautical components, it is necessary to reach new trade agreements with other countries and at the same time strengthen already existing ones to attain a more efficient supply chain

The C295 maintenance centre at Military Airbase No. 1 (Santa Lucía, Mexico) can be highlighted, which will effectively provide maintenance to the fleet of aircraft belonging to both the Mexican Air Force and Navy, an activity which will be carried out for the first time and which will become a point of reference to conduct joint work to the benefit of both armed forces.

 

The 2nd Aerospace Education Forum was also held during the Mexico Aerospace Trade Fair of 2017, which brought together almost all the institutions which conduct educational programmes for the industry. In what areas are country’s future professionals specialising in?

It should never be forgotten that the young constitute the nation’s future. There are a considerable number of educational institutions in Mexico specialising in aeronautics, ranging from technical and engineering qualifications to post-graduate courses. Thus, the country had the foresight to create a new aeronautical education forum by holding conferences at which those entrepreneurial students could take part and to drive forward scientific and technical development, thereby consolidating the existence of a qualified labour force in our country.

Turbojet engines, research on new technologies, composite materials, maintenance, repair and overhaul are just some of the many topics touched upon in said forum. All these topics were delivered by a group of highly experienced professionals in the industry from both the country and abroad.

 

What are the main advantages for foreign investors who wish to establish their aeronautical programmes in Mexico?

FAMEX-2017 offers investors an ideal scenario to do business through B2B meetings, which allow for trade agreements to be reached and set the conditions to agree on business deals involving companies, agencies, suppliers and the private sector.

 Furthermore, a seminar entitled “On Foreign Investment” was held, at which both the benefits and incentives granted to companies interested in setting up parks, companies or any kind of business that generates a source of jobs and helps drive forward the aeronautical industry were set out.

 

More than 32,000 aeronautical industry professionals attended FAMEX 2015. Were the expectations forecast for the event in 2017 exceeded?

More than 40,000 people having an interest in aeronautics attended this edition of the event. There was an increase of more than 80% in participating companies. It was forecast that 400 companies would take part in this edition, a figure which was fully reached.

 

 

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