Bell Helicopter to open Louisiana assembly plant
December 11, 2013 By The Associated Press
Dec. 11, 2013, Lafayette, La. - Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter says it will build a new line of helicopters at an assembly plant in Lafayette, after receiving incentives from the state of Louisiana.
The project, announced late Tuesday by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Bell
Helicopter’s chief executive officer John Garrison, will bring the first
modern-era aircraft assembly facility to Lafayette Regional Airport.
Helicopter will lease space for its operation in a new $26.3 million,
82,300-square-foot hangar facility at the airport that’s being funded by
the state but owned by Lafayette Regional Airport. The facility will be
built on a 14.5-acre site located next to U.S. Highway 90.
The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported that construction will begin in the first half of 2014, .
project is expected to create 115 jobs with average annual salaries of
more than $55,000 plus benefits, and invest $11.4 million in equipment
Bell Helicopter will produce its line of SLS – Short
Light Single – helicopters at the facility. The five-seat,
single-engine turbine helicopter is a contemporary version of the
JetRanger, an aircraft built by the company more than 50 years ago.
began talks with key Louisiana officials about the potential assembly
facility in July. To secure the project, the state offered an incentive
package that includes performance-based grants of $4 million for lease
support, $3.8 million for infrastructure and equipment, as well as money
to reimburse relocation expenses, the company said. Louisiana will also
offer the use of the state’s workforce development program.
Helicopter ranks among the most well-known aerospace companies, and we
are proud that Louisiana’s world-class workforce, outstanding business
climate and incomparable infrastructure combined to attract this
exciting project to our state,” Jindal said.
He said the
announcement signaled that “Louisiana is ready to further expand its
presence and leadership in the aerospace industry, creating quality
career opportunities for our people for generations to come.”
company will start hiring employees for the new location by 2015, and
assembly operations will begin by 2016 following any necessary
certification of the facility and the aircraft.