Assembly of Bell Helicopter Jet Ranger X leaving Louisiana
LAFAYETTE - Bell Helicopter says it will assemble its 505 Jet Ranger X in Canada, and abandon plans to build the new-model aircraft at a $26.3 million Lafayette facility.
Louisiana financed the facility and was promised 115 jobs.
Bell CEO and President Mitch Snyder said in a conference call Thursday an undetermined number of employees at the Lafayette plant will handle some of the cabin assembly for Bell's 505 Relentless helicopter, work that is being transferred from a plant in Amarillo, Texas.
Snyder said the Lafayette plant also will handle modifications to the Northrop Gruman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle, a Bell project that is being moved from the company's facility in Ozark, Alabama.
Snyder said the company's decision to change directions was driven by a severe downturn worldwide in the demand for commercial aircraft.