A Texas-based helicopter company is bringing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to Lafayette. At a press conference Wednesday, Governor Bobby Jindal joined local officials to break ground on a $37 million facility, home to Bell Helicopters. Once complete, it will house 250 permanent jobs.
“That means over 250 families will able to pay their bills right here in Louisiana,” said Jindal. “That means 250 families raising their kids’ right here in Louisiana.”
Governor Jindal says this is the first aircraft assembly center in Louisiana history. And the 505 Air Ranger “X” helicopters they assemble is in demand. Bell CEO John Garrison says they’ve already had over 200 deposits from all over the world.
“We’re going to be able to say, the 505 Air Ranger “X” is proudly made in Lafayette, Louisiana,” said Garrison. “And that is a big deal.”
The facility will be roughly 82,000 square feet. Airport Commissioner, Paul Segura, says it’s part of the many improvements currently going on at the airport.
“It goes along with several others of our expansion projects, improvements to infrastructure, runways, ramps, and existing business in general aviation, and of course, the airlines,” said Segura.
The assembly facility is expected to hire in 2015 and open its doors in 2016.