Tucson Aerospace Company Looks to Increase Business in Mexico

June 26, 2014

In the state of Arizona, many local economies are having a significant impact due to the amount of cargo imported and exported to and from Mexico. Fresh produce is one of the largest industries dominating the state economy. Other industries, such as aerospace, are increasing the relationship between the United States and Mexico. One local Tucson high-tech organization has operations in both countries.

The United States Census Bureau currently estimates that over $7 billion worth of Mexican goods entered Arizona in 2013. These imports range from copper wiring to jet engine tubing with the top being fruits and vegetables. In the Mexican town of Nogales, there are approximately 1,600 trucks crossing each day, 1,200 of which are fresh produce.

As one of Tucson’s most well-known industries, aerospace has been increasing their shipments into Arizona from Mexico. This indicates that there is a large amount of manufacturing for the aerospace industry in Mexico. Recent census information shows that of Arizona’s top 25 imports originating from Mexico, three aerospace categories made the list. These total imports equate to $700 million.

For over 40 years, Airtronics has developed, designed, manufactured and maintained aircraft componentry. Over the past three months, they have been operating in a Nogales, Mexico-based production facility. The company has been able to successfully transplant many quality workers into Mexico.

When the opportunity arose for Airtronics to expand, they made the decision to partner with a firm that builds maquiladora facilities in Mexico. These plants are manufacturing sites that are situated in free trade zones thus allowing owners to import raw materials, form or assemble them on the site and export the finished goods without paying any duties or fees.

All of Airtronics aerospace manufacturing in Mexico must meet the rigorous standards enforced by the industry. Therefore, every part that is assembled in Mexico must return to Tucson to go through one last quality check. Although this has been a logistical issue for the company, they are willing to perform these functions to determine if they are receiving the same quality from Mexico as in the United States.

In the future, the company is hoping to achieve a standardization certificate for the Mexican plant. This will allow them to ship Mexican-made finished goods directly to U.S.-based customers. In addition to expanding its presence in Mexico, Airtronics continues to grow in the Tucson location.

One of the biggest reasons for the growth and expansion of aerospace manufacturing in Mexico is because of the international trade boom that has hit the United States. Given Tucson’s location in proximity to Mexico and the growth of the Port of Tucson, an 800-acre foreign trade zone, companies, like Airtronics, can more easily engage in international trade.

The Airtronics Mexican site employs 12 workers with more being hired every day. Since the new facility went into operation, the firm has also hired six new employees to man the Tucson office; thus bringing the total to 75 employees. Therefore, as more goods are shipped across the border, this could result in significantly improved job creation for the City of Tucson.