95 years ago, Mexico’s first airplane factory was established in Tijuana

The factory was set up in an abandoned warehouse located in what is now Madero Avenue at the intersection with México Avenue

On November 3, 1927, the Governor of the Northern District of Baja California, General Abelardo Luján Rodríguez established an airplane factory in the municipality of Tijuana, Zaragoza, the first of its kind in all of Mexico.

Thanks to this decision in November 1927, Compañía Aérea de Construcción y Transportes, S.A. became established, with its first capitalist associate being the state governor; Captain pilot aviator Luis Farrell was the test pilot, and the mechanic and manufacturer was engineer José Flavio Rivera.

How was the first airplane factory in Tijuana?

The factory was set up in an abandoned warehouse, located at the start of the current Madero Avenue at the intersection with México Avenue, a continuation of First Street. This is the area currently known as the famous Zona Norte.

They refurbished this area, an old wheat warehouse, though other authors mention that it was a car shop or garage. It was built with corrugated sheets, both its walls and its roof. It was 10 meters (32 feet) long and 5 meters (16.5 feet) wide. They installed equipment and tools bought in the United States; for example, welding machines, tables for plans, paintings, fabrics, cables, pulleys, tubes, instruments, tools, and accessories.

The machinery was purchased in San Diego and it was enough to manufacture the airplane’s fuselage, wings, and aircrews. It had a very limited capacity since it was programmed to manufacture an airplane every three months.

Due to this, Compañía de Comunicaciones y Transportes was created in Tijuana, the first airplane factory in the country. This initiative was by mechanic Flavio Rivera and the company began with an investment of $40,000 pesos. Here airplanes Baja California 1, 2, and 3 were manufactured. Sometime later, Baja California 1 was used for surveillance and war activities and Baja California 2 completed a nonstop flight from Laguna Salada to Balbuena. Generally speaking, the three airplanes made in Tijuana brought honor and renown both nationally and internationally.

Who was Abelardo L. Rodríguez?

General Abelardo L. Rodríguez was governor of the Northern District of Baja California from November 3, 1923 to November 20, 1929. He was born in Guaymas, Sonora. He was a military soldier, visionary, businessman, and great promoter of the region’s economy. He was President of Mexico from 1932 to 1934, replacing President Ortiz Rubio who resigned. In 1943, he was governor of Sonora.

One cannot deny the great boost that he gave to the fishing and agricultural industries with the construction of the Rodríguez Dam in Tijuana and the industrialization of Baja California. He was one of the country’s first men to set up an airplane factory. Here the three internationally renowned Baja California airplanes were built. One can also consider him the creator of the emerging tourist industry due to the establishment of the Agua Caliente Casino.

Did you know this interesting fact about Tijuana?

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