More than 150 exhibitors and the presence of almost 30 display aircraft at Aero Expo 2001 in Acapulco bolstered claims that the Mexican show is now Central America's premier trade fair and a worthy running mate to the bi-annual FIDAE show held in Chile on alternate years.

"Its our third event, and the best sign is the exhibitors keep coming back" says Hector Davila Cornejo, director general of Aero Expo 2001. "We expect to grow substantially, maybe by up to a third again, as we move towards 2003."

Cornejo's optimism is founded on three main points: the sustained growth of Mexico's aerospace industry, the failure of competing trade events in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, and the strategic location of Mexico as "a gateway from Latin America to North America".

Air transport growth in Mexico continues to be strong with an expected 6% annual increase in traffic for the rest of the decade, marginally ahead of the predicted rate for Latin America. The proposed shake-up of the state owned airline industry promises major fleet renewal. Stimulus is also being provided by the growing need for aircraft for anti-drug missions, policing and firefighting. "The war against drugs is driving the need for a lot of new equipment," adds Alfredo Miguel, president of Servicos Aeros del Centro and the Mexican representative of Bell Helicopter Textron.

Source: Flight International