Hawker Beechcraft has opened a $20 million manufacturing plant in Chihuahua City, Mexico to house sheet-metal fabrication and electrical assembly for Beechcraft King Air turboprops and Hawker business jets.

The 16,720m2 (180,000ft2) building is one of two at the Chihuahua site. A third will be added this year, bringing the total footprint to 46,450m2. "Since the opening of our first facility in Chihuahua in 2007, Hawker Beechcraft has established a visible presence in Chihuahua," says chief executive Bill Boisture. "We have seen a high-level of quality and craftsmanship from the country's skilled workforce and have great confidence in their ability to assume additional responsibilities in the manufacturing process. We have also received great support from the state government, which has been a key factor in our development plans for Chihuahua."

An important factor in the company's selection of Chihuahua was the city's ability to train specialised operators for the aerospace industry through its High Technology Training Center. This specialises in machining, sheet metal, painting and other techniques and processes. Components, including electrical wiring, produced at the Mexico premises are shipped to Wichita, where they are integrated into the King Air and Hawker assembly process.

Source: Flight International