On this Mardi Gras Day, a job announcement is giving more people in Acadiana reason to celebrate.

At the 2019 HAI Heli-Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, Kopter Group AG CEO Andreas Lowenstein and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced the Switzerland-based helicopter maker will assemble its new SH09 helicopter in Lafayette. It's projected to create 120 new direct jobs in Lafayette with the annual salary of $55,000, plus benefits.

"We’re delighted that Kopter chose Louisiana and Lafayette for the assembly of a dynamic new aerospace product," says Gov. Edwards. "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 Group chose the Lafayette site for several reasons," Löwenstein said. "First, because Louisiana, which is a rapidly growing and attractive region, already hosts 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 operational environment, with quick and easy logistics and commercial access."

Louisiana Economic Development is estimating the project will also result in another 157 new indirect jobs.

"It took a lot of hard work by Governor Edwards, Louisiana Economic Development, Lafayette Airport Commission and airport staff to make this partnership a reality in a very short time," said Chairman Paul Segura of the Lafayette Airport Commission. "Lafayette just gained a major international opportunity housed at our airport, and this means good things for our economic future."

The company plans to make a $4.2 million capital investment in new equipment and building additions at the Lafayette site.

"Louisiana’s outstanding workforce and facility assets, and our competitive business climate, make Lafayette the clear choice for Kopter’s future in the Americas," says Edwards.