Icon Moving Composite Production Work to Mexico

The maker of the A5 light sport amphibian to open sprawling factory in Tijuana.

Icon Aircraft Tijuana Factory
Icon's new factory buildings in Tijuana will cover more than 300,000 square feet. The company will begin manufacturing composite parts in the building pictured above in November.Icon Aircraft

Icon Aircraft will christen a new factory in Tijuana, Mexico, to produce composite airframes for the A5 light sport amphibian, Kirk Hawkins, founder and CEO of the California company, told Flying.

Outside suppliers had been tasked with producing composite airframe components for the A5 until Icon decided in May to bring the work in house. The new Icon factory in Mexico, which could eventually employ 1,000 workers, is set to open in November and be completely up and running by early next year, Hawkins said.

Icon A5
Icon Aircraft will soon move production of composite airframes for its light sport amphibian to Tijuana, Mexico.Icon Aircraft

"Icon will own or control all manufacturing operations related to its composite fabrication in Mexico," Hawkins wrote in an email to Flying. "Parts will be made on Icon tooling, by Icon processes, to Icon standards, in Icon facilities. Just as before, composite parts will be shipped to Icon's California facility for painting, systems installation, final aircraft assembly, testing, and final delivery. Icon has made this change in order to improve and control the manufacturing process while simultaneously reducing costs."

Facing early production teething problems at its main Vacaville, California, factory, Icon has slowed A5 production as the company works to correct those troubles, a move that the company says will delay full-rate deliveries by about a year. Icon is now focusing on pilot training with 12 A5s produced to date.

Hawkins will hold a press conference in Tijuana tomorrow with Mexican government officials, where further details of the new factory will be revealed.