Bombardier hopes to attract original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and key suppliers to its site in Querétaro, Mexico as part of a project funded by the local state to create a technology park specialising in aerospace manufacturing.

The Canadian aircraft manufacturer is targeting tier 1 suppliers, such as engine manufacturers and systems integrators, as well as tier 2 and 3 suppliers.

Bombardier has already begun manufacturing at a temporary building on the site, which is near Querétaro's airport, and delivery of the first CRJ200/Challenger 850 fuselage to its facility in Montreal was expected to take place by the end of 2006, says Andrés Friedman, senior analyst for the aerospace supply chain at Bombardier.

The company also manufactures electrical harnesses in Mexico and plans to move manufacture of other structures there in coming years, possibly including other fuselage sections, control surfaces and "any metallic structure", Friedman said at November's Aeromart industry exhibition in Toulouse.

Bombardier expects to expand its workforce at the site from the current level of fewer than 300 to between 1,000 and 2,000 in three to five years. The first of four permanent structures Bombardier is building is due to be completed in mid-2007.

Bombardier is "in discussion with several suppliers" about locating production bases at the site, where facilities can be rented from the government, Friedman says.

Existing suppliers wanting to expand might choose the site to be close to a major customer, or new suppliers might see a presence there as a springboard into Latin America, he adds. "It makes sense to be located close to us because of the critical mass."

Although it would not force suppliers to move to the site if they were unwilling, it is likely that "for some future work we want to develop there, we would choose a partner for whom it would make sense", Friedman says.

Source: Flight International