Lafayette Region Aerospace & Aviation

Fly Forwardin Acadiana

Due in large part to its robust oil and gas industry, Acadiana - located in South Central Louisiana along the Gulf of Mexico - boasts a thriving aviation industry. The region’s major employers include a diverse mix of industry from healthcare to construction. Aviation investments in the area include:


Jim Bourgeois

Executive VP, Economic Development


PHI, Inc.


Headquartered in Lafayette for over 60 years, PHI has flown over 12 million rotary wing flight hours, more than any private entity worldwide. In addition to operations in the U.S., the company operates in 43 countries across the globe. Every day, PHI helicopters fly up to 250 miles into the Gulf of Mexico’s international waters providing transportation, air medical, and technical services to offshore oil and gas companies.

Bell Helicopter


In August 2015, Bell Helicopter opened a $26.3 million, 82,300-square foot hangar assembly facility in Lafayette, where it will manufacture its Bell 525 Relentless cabin sub-assembly. The facility adds 115 jobs to the 60 existing area jobs at Bell’s rotor blade and composite repair and overhaul facilities. Louisiana’s customized facilities solutions and experienced workforce made this location Bell’s choice for this significant investment.



A world leader in the niche market of aviation exterior painting, AvEx has been located at Acadiana Regional Airport (ARA) in New Iberia for over 25 years. Taking advantage of ARA’s 8,000-foot runway, AvEx serves the jet fleets of industry giants such as Boeing, FedEx, and Southwest Airlines.

Bristow Group's Americas Region


Comprising operations in North America, South America, Latin America and Trinidad, Bristow is headquartered in New Iberia. It has operated for over 50 years in North America, and primarily provides crew transport services to offshore drilling rigs and production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Clients consist of international, independent and major integrated oil and gas companies. Bristow maintains advanced flight-following systems and widespread and strategically located offshore fuel stations in the Acadiana region.


Bold Incentives

Acadiana values its aviation industry, and will align state and local resources to provide customized incentive packages for businesses looking to grow. A few standard incentives are outlined below:

Aerospace Manufacturing Payroll Incentive


Can provide up to a 12% payroll rebate over 10 years. Additionally, a participating company would be eligible for either a rebate of state sales and use taxes on capital expenditures or a 1.2% project facility expense rebate.

Industrial Tax Exemption Program


Provides a 100% property tax exemption, including 100% of school taxes, for ten years.

Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive


The nation’s strongest, most comprehensive incentive for software development. Eligible projects receive up to a 35% refundable tax credit for payroll expenditures.

You can find a full list of standard incentives by visiting our incentives page:

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A Better Bottom Line

Rankings as a low-tax environment with reduced operating costs make Louisiana the right choice:

  • No. 1: Lowest tax burden in the U.S. for new capital-intensive and labor-intensive manufacturing operations.
  • No. 2: Second-lowest industrial electricity rates in the South, averaging 19 percent below the national average between 2012-2014.
  • No. 1: Lowest industrial natural gas rates in the South, averaging 18 percent below the national average between 2012-2014.
  • No. 1: Acadiana has lower manufacturing wages than Louisiana, the South, and the U.S.

Quality Workforce

A right-to work state for more than three decades, Louisiana ranks in the Top 10 for lowest rates of private workforce unionization. It is also home to LED FastStart, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program, which creates customized workforce recruitment, screening, and training solutions. With a growing labor force of nearly 318,000 in the region, competitive wages, and a strong education pipeline, Acadiana’s workforce is waiting for you.

International School of Aviation Excellence


In January 2016, South Louisiana Community College purchased Bristow Academy’s New Iberia location and its assets for $2.9 million to establish its International School for Aviation Excellence, which will confer two-year associates degrees to helicopter pilots. This initiative will also expand the college’s aviation maintenance technician (AMT) program to develop a cadre of aerospace professionals who meet and exceed the industry standards and workforce demands of today and tomorrow.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette


UL Lafayette’s College of Engineering is its largest undergraduate program boasting over 2,700 undergraduate students, 177 master’s students, and 41 PhD students representing 45 states and 25 countries. The college focuses on providing “hands-on” learning experiences with a strong emphasis on internship and cooperative learning experiences. Over 200 companies regularly recruit its Engineering and Technology graduates.

Learn more about our capable workforce:

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The Right Location is Waiting for You.

The Acadiana Regional Airport alone includes a 125-acre Industrial Park, and over 1,200 acres of land available for development.

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Access and Infrastructure

Acadiana is a prime location for your business. A logistical hub, the region is strategically located at the intersection of Interstates 10 and 49. It provides access to 38 interior states via the Mississippi River and countless international markets via the Gulf of Mexico. Within the Acadiana region alone are: TWO commercial airports, TWO Class I rail systems, FIVE coastal ports, and TWO inland ports.

Infrastructure Map


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