Monday, March 11, 2019

Lafayette to assemble SHO9

Prototypes of SHO9, seen in Switzerland.
Kopter Group photo
LAFAYETTE, La. — A ribbon-cutting was held Saturday at Lafayette Regional Airport for the Kopter Group's new SHO9 helicopter assembly facility. Gov. John Bel Edwards joined CEO Andreas Löwenstein of Kopter Group AG, Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development, and other state, regional and local officials at the ribbon-cutting. The selection of Lafayette was announced early last week at the world’s largest helicopter trade show in Atlanta. Kopter’s manufacturing site will create 120 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $55,000, plus benefits. Activities at the 14.7-acre site will include production, customization, assembly and customer service. Suppliers include Kaman (composite parts), Garmin (avionics), Parker Aerospace (hydraulic pumps), Collins Aerospace (external lighting) and Honeywell (turboshaft engine). The helicopters ultimately will be assembled in Lafayette with U.S.-sourced components representing at least 50 percent of the aircraft value. In addition, the company will make a $4.2 million capital investment to modify and equip a state-of-the-art, 84,700-square-foot helicopter assembly building at the airport. the former Bell Helicopter facility. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 157 new indirect jobs, for a total or more than 275 new jobs in Acadiana and surrounding regions. Switzerland-based Kopter Group has designed, engineered and tested a series of prototype helicopters that lay the foundation for production helicopters to be assembled in Lafayette. Kopter will lease the state-funded facility from the Lafayette Airport Commissions. Kopter will begin hiring later this year, with formal helicopter assembly activity and deliveries scheduled to begin in 2021. Production will ramp up to an anticipated annual volume of 100 helicopters by 2025. (Source: LED, 03/09/19) Lafayette is two hours west of New Orleans along Interstate 10. Previous related