The aeronautical industry in Colombia
The aeronautical industry in Colombia has the potential to provide services and value-added products to aeronautical companies. Renowned companies in the auto parts and aeronautical services sector already hold international certifications to act as international aeronautical industry suppliers. There are 16 international airports in Colombia including the main cargo transportation airport (El Dorado) in Latin America.
Why invest in the aeronautical sector in Colombia?
Colombia offers a favorable business environment for the aeronautical industry.
- Latin America and Colombia have great potential to grow international air traffic, along with the expected growth of the aircraft fleet, which leads to a higher demand for aircraft maintenance and repair services.
- According to Airbus, between 2018 and 2038, Latin America will need 2,685 new passenger and cargo aircraft to meet growing transportation needs and replace the existing fleet (1,375 aircraft).
- Growth of air traffic in Latin America is expected to reach 4.3% on average in the next 20 years, higher than North America (3%) and Europe (3.3%).
- The demand for new aircraft in Latin America is mainly for small or narrow-body planes (89%), which is conducive to the setup of smaller scale maintenance operations than those required for larger aircraft, giving Colombia the opportunity to become a key player.
- The market value of related activities in Latin America is expected to reach USD 268 trillion. Additionally, the demand for services will require 47,550 new pilots and 64,160 new technicians.
Strategic location for the development of regional and global operations.
- Colombia is strategically located in Latin America, allowing the country to position itself as an important cargo and passenger transport hub. Colombia has 16 international airports, including El Dorado International Airport which is the main cargo and passenger airport in the country, and ranks first in cargo transport and among the top airports in passenger transport in Latin America.
- According to Aerocivil (The Civil Aviation Authority of Colombia), passenger traffic in Colombian airports reached 75.5 million in 2019, 9% higher than in 2018. On the other hand, air freight movements exceeded one million tons per year between 2016 and 2019. El Dorado Airport in Bogotá transported 710,000 tons in 2019.
- Colombia airports handle 5,740 domestic flights per week and 1,171 direct international flights. Twenty-six airlines fly into the country with direct connections to 27 countries.
Competitive infrastructure of the Colombian aeronautical aviation industry
- Following a global trend, Colombian flag-carrier Avianca created its own MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) business to reduce costs and be more competitive. Thus, USD 50 million were invested in a 44,300 sqm facility capable of handling narrow-body planes or two wide-body aircraft. Avianca’s MRO has created 2,730 direct jobs, where 40% of the employees are between 18 and 30 years of age and 262 of them are women.
- In Colombia, there are AS9100 certified companies with great potential to supply the international aeronautical industry. These companies are auto parts manufacturers and also provide aeronautical service providers.
- Ninety-six (96) aviation aeronautical shops completed about 48,000 aircraft maintenance services in 2018.
- Business initiatives have been developed in the aeronautical sector in the country, such as the Colombian Aerospace Cluster (CAESCOL), the Valle del Cauca Aerospace Cluster, the Coffee Belt Aeronautical Cluster, the Colombian Association of Aerospace Producers (ACOPAER), and the Corporation of the Colombian Aeronautical Industry (CIAC). The latter is part of the defense sector, with the capacity and technology to manufacture small unmanned aircraft and to provide maintenance for large aircraft.
- Between 2010 and 2018, over 5,200 professionals graduated with college or technical degrees related to aeronautics programs, over 1,200 of which earned a degree in aeronautical engineering.
- There are also 54 aeronautical training centers in the country, which offer courses to be a private or commercial pilot, helicopter pilot, aircraft technician, also courses covering on-board services, engine repair, and electrical and electronic systems.
- Colombia is using new technologies such as drones, augmented reality, and 3D printing. Avianca has started using drones to perform fuselage inspections, allowing the airline to reduce operating times.
The aeronautical industry offers different incentives to promote growth and competitiveness in the sector.
- Colombia has signed several trade agreements to enter key markets in the aerospace sector in North America and Europe with zero tariffs.
Investment opportunities in the aeronautical industry in Colombia:
- The aeronautical sector offers opportunities to set up Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) operations and serve the growing passenger and cargo aircraft fleet in the region.
- There are also opportunities for technology transfer from international companies to local companies with experience in manufacturing aircraft parts. There are about 100 aircraft maintenance shops in Colombia and a growing workforce capable of meeting the needs of aerospace companies.
- Colombia can serve as an export platform for aircraft parts manufacturers.