MARIGNANE, France, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The Mexico subsidiary of French company Eurocopter has broken ground on a manufacturing facility for aeronautical components and subassemblies.
The facility, near the Aerotech Park adjacent to Queretaro International Airport, will focus on the production and assembly of helicopter and aircraft components, such as tail booms, vertical stabilizers and doors.
The plant will include a workshop area for cutting, milling, pressing, surface treatment and the assembly of single parts and subassemblies, as well as a new benchmark helicopter maintenance center for Eurocopter, the company said.
"Eurocopter is constantly seeking opportunities for improving its global supply chain, and we have found an attractive industrial environment and a ready supply of skilled labor in Queretaro," said Eurocopter de Mexico Chief Executive Officer Serge Durand. "We strongly believe in the future success of this new facility.
"Such high-tech value work packages will feed Eurocopter's supply chain in Europe."
The plant is to be ready for product deliveries beginning in late 2012.
"Eurocopter's initial investment in the facility is the equivalent of about $100 million," said Eurocopter Executive Vice President Dieter John.
"In the long-term, Mexico will benefit from investments amounting to as much as $550 million -- driven by the Queretaro plant's future development, along with overall growth of Eurocopter de Mexico's activities and the expected arrival of additional suppliers and subcontractors in the region."
The facility's construction represents an extension of Eurocopter's global industrial network, backed by technology transfer that will foster the regional development of high-level skills and know-how.
"I am very happy to participate in the cornerstone-laying ceremony for this new industrial site, which will contribute to making Queretaro a true aeronautical cluster," said Tonatiuh Salinas Munoz, secretary of Sustainable Development of the State of Queretaro. "The Autonomous University of Queretaro will definitely play a major role in training an important part of the facility's future staff, expected to reach approximately 180 employees by 2015."
The plant's groundbreaking event was broadcast via satellite to Mexican officials, Eurocopter delegates and attendees of the Economic Forum at Queretaro's Conference Center. Welcoming Eurocopter's industrial presence in Queretaro, Frederic Garcia, chief executive officer of EADS in Mexico, said that this new investment was in line with EADS' vision while significantly contributing to the development of the Mexican aeronautical industry.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 17,500 people.
Last year Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world's leader in helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market with a turnover of $6.6 billion, orders for 346 new helicopters and a 49 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.