Swiss firm Kopter establishes plant in Louisiana

Swiss firm Kopter is establishing a production facility in Lafayette, Louisiana, the company announced at Heli-Expo.

The news comes just seven months after the state of Louisiana terminated its agreement with Bell, which was the previous tenant of Kopter’s new facility.

The termination by the state was a consequence of Bell not meeting employment and manufacturing obligations.

The facility had housed the final assembly of the 505 Jet Ranger X light single helicopter, but this was moved by the OEM to Canada in 2016, along with the cabin sub-assembly of the 525 Relentless.

The Lafayette facility will see SH09 aircraft assembly take place with distribution of the helicopter throughout the US. The current projection is for Kopter to ramp up to 100 helicopters.

The employment drive is expected to begin later in 2019 and the OEM has the intention of 120 new jobs by 2025. The first deliveries of the Lafayette-assembled SH09s will commence in 2021.