Chihuahua, Mexico

Chihuahua city, the capital of Chihuahua state along Mexico’s northern border, plays an important role in the Mexican aerospace sector. A cluster established in 2008 has resulted in the creation of more than 17,000 jobs and exports totalling $1.5bn.


The local government works closely with domestic academic institutions and investors in the cluster to create an innovative and productive environment by integrating the supply chain, education, technology and infrastructure. An academic entailment leader works closely with educational institutions to ensure they offer qualifications relevant to the aerospace sector, while companies collaborate to attract big projects – combining certifications, capabilities and expertise and presenting a streamlined and knowledgeable environment for aerospace companies.

In addition to plentiful industrial parks and buildings, there is an international airport, while a maintenance, repair and overhaul park is under development. Five ports of entry and 10 US border crossings afford potential investors access to the world's largest aerospace market, and free-trade agreements with 44 countries enable investors to import and export easily.

Colorado Springs, Colorado, US

At the base of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs has a thriving aerospace and defence sector. Approximately 70,000 people are employed in the industry – which accounts for more than 44% of the local economy – in a wide range of companies from IT and manufacturing to cybersecurity and consulting. Five military installations are located in the city, which enjoys a relationship with the US Air Force and other government defence organisations. In 2010, more than $1.9bn in research funding was granted to universities in the state of Colorado by NASA and other government and private sources.

The city is home to the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs), one of the Colorado Space Coalition's six members, which offers specialised degrees in aeronautical engineering through its College of Engineering. Elsewhere in the city, the US Airforce Academy boasts the country's only undergraduate space programme, in which students have the opportunity to design, build and operate a satellite.

The local government has a range of measures to support investors, including a commercial aeronautical zone; tax incentives for aircraft production; aircraft and aircraft parts sales and use tax exemption; and an aircraft manufacturer new employee credit.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

A principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, Fort Lauderdale’s aerospace sector is focused around the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, which provides an airport infrastructure and facilitates the development of aviation businesses. The airport area houses more than 150 aviation sector companies and employs over 5000 people. The airport is equipped with 447 hangars and an 81-hectare industrial airpark, providing more than 140,000 square metres of office, warehouse and industrial space.

There are investment incentives, such as the qualified target industry refund, which is a tax incentive for investors in a range of sectors including aerospace, and a foreign trade zone, which offers incentives to encourage business development. The airport management committee runs an annual internship programme to local aerospace and aviation students, which produces experienced graduates for potential investors.

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Nestled on Lake Ontario, just west of Toronto, Mississauga is home to Canada’s largest aerospace cluster. Toronto Pearson International Airport, North America’s second busiest airport for international passengers, is located in the city and welcomes more than 40 million passengers travelling to over 180 destinations annually. Not just a passenger hub, 15% of Ontario’s total GDP passes through the airport, which is equipped with 111,000 square metres of warehouse space and can process over 1 million tonnes of cargo annually.

In total, 219 aerospace companies operate in the city, including aerospace manufacturing companies, airlines and airport services companies, employing upwards of 24,000 people. Investors can take advantage of many general and sector-specific assistance programmes from Ontario’s state government, including the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which offers between C$10m ($7.72m) and C$20m per project to support cutting-edge technologies and large-scale operations. The City of Mississauga partners with many sector-specific organisations, including the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and the Ontario Aerospace Council, to develop the sector locally. 

Mobile, Alabama, US

Mobile, a port city on Alabama’s southern coast, has a knack for attracting big names in aerospace FDI. The city is home to 32 aerospace companies, employing more than 2500 people, including Airbus, which invested in a $600m manufacturing facility to build its A320 aircraft series.

The University of South Alabama works closely with Airbus to shape the courses and classes on its degree programmes to ensure the availability of talented graduates. In the past decade, employment in the aerospace sector increased by 19%, mainly due to the Airbus anchor investment, which encouraged smaller supply chain companies to locate in the area.

The Port of Mobile, which feeds into one of the US's largest waterway systems, and the two airports located in the city make for an attractive logistics option. Furthermore, the local airport authority has 1620 hectares ready for development, and Mobile Aeroplex, a former US Air Force base turned industrial park, is situated less than two kilometres from the port, offering plentiful import and export opportunities. In central Mobile, a software corridor comprising software development and innovation companies provides the hi-tech supply chain services for the aerospace industry.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow's aerospace industry employs more than 38,000 people, with state organisations PJSC United Aircraft Corporation and Rostec State Corporation at its core. Moscow is also home to some of the industry's major companies, including Boeing (which established a technical centre in the city) and Airbus (which set up the Airbus Engineering Centre, in a joint venture between Airbus, RTI and Kaskol). With a focus on research and innovation, the city boasts one-third of all Russia’s research companies and personnel, has 20 technoparks dedicated to innovation and hi-tech industries, and offers investors infrastructure benefits and financial incentives.

Besides its four airports, Moscow has the largest railway hub in the Commonweath of Independent States, featuring two ring railways, nine radial railways and more than 2700 kilometres of track. Forty per cent of transit goods pass through the city, making it a logistics hub with great potential. An aviation training centre was constructed at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre in 2015 to provide flight and technical training in the aerospace industry.

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Known as the ‘gateway to the west’, Saint Louis is home to some major players in aerospace manufacturing, including Boeing, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin. In 2014, more than 22,000 people were employed by over 100 aerospace companies. Boeing’s defence, space and security division, which posts revenues of more than $30bn, established its headquarters in the city, which is also home to the third largest rail centre in the US, and Lambert-St Louis International Airport, combining to produce a major transportation and distribution centre.

In addition, investors can take advantage of the high quality of graduates the city produces from its 30 universities. There are a range of aerospace research and education programmes available, including the Aerospace Research and Education Centre, which promotes research, education and technology transfer in the sector; and Flight Safety International, which trains pilots and flight crews and is located beside the airport.

Wolverhampton, UK

Wolverhampton is one of the UK's largest clusters of tier-one aerospace companies, with investment from UTC Aerospace Systems and Moog, which operates a manufacturing facility producing hardware for military and commercial aircraft. Investors can choose from several sites including Lupus Park, within the aerospace quadrant of i54, an enterprise zone located five kilometres from Wolverhampton; and Pantheon Park, a new development in the east of the city, offering bespoke industrial units up to 38,000 square metres.

The city council offers aerospace companies a range of services, such as support with planning applications, recruitment and access to grants. In addition, the University of Wolverhampton runs aerospace degree courses to ensure investors have access to quality talent with relevant qualifications.