Kopter announces new facility in Louisiana
Switzerland’s Kopter Group has announced plans to open a new helicopter production facility for its SH09 in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Andreas Löwenstein, the group’s CEO, made the announcement at Heli Expo in Atlanta alongside Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.
Kopter will lease 84,700 sq. ft of helicopter-assembly buildings at Lafayette Airport both to produce and to support the SH09. It also plans to extend the facility and invest in new on-site equipment.
The Lafayette base will act as parts supplier and production facility for the Americas. Personnel will be hired later this year in preparation for the facility’s opening by mid-2020. Helicopters will roll out for delivery from the facility a year after in 2021.
Löwenstein said: “Kopter Group chose the Lafayette site for several reasons. First, because of Louisiana, which is a rapidly growing and attractive region and already hosting several key helicopter operators and many industrial players.
Second, for the easy access to a qualified workforce and a high-quality educational environment. And third, for the facility itself, which meets the highest standards and allows almost instant operations. Its location on the airport provides an ideal production environment, with quick and easy logistics and commercial access.”
The State of Louisiana initially funded the construction of the $25.3 million facility on the airport’s 14.7-acre site. The state’s economic development office offered an undisclosed incentive package to Kopter to establish its US production facility there.
Kopter estimates that at least 120 new jobs will be created at the facility by 2025.
Governor Edwards said: “We are delighted that Kopter chose Louisiana and Lafayette for the assembly of a dynamic new aerospace product. The SH09 helicopter will be highly competitive in the marketplace and provide outstanding performance, great passenger and cargo capacity, and superior engineering and design.
“Kopter could have chosen any location in North America to assemble this new helicopter. Louisiana’s outstanding workforce and facility assets, and our competitive business climate, make Lafayette the clear choice for Kopter’s future in the Americas.”