LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Bell Helicopter has committed to operating in Lafayette for the next two years.

Lafayette Regional Airport Executive Director Steven Picou tells The Advertiser the company is about to begin modifications to the 82,300-square-foot manufacturing facility.

The facility was designed to be a manufacturing center for Bell's 505 Jet X Ranger helicopter. The state paid $26.3 million to build the airport-owned assembly center.

Bell has been leasing the facility and committed to making an additional $11.5 million capital investment in equipment and tooling.

In May, Bell announced that it was pulling its 505 Ranger X helicopter operation from Lafayette and moving it to Canada. Company President and CEO Mitch Snyder blamed a struggling market on the decision to move the operation but said Bell remains "committed to Lafayette."


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.