NEW IBERIA, La. – Aviation Exteriors Louisiana, which has long specialized in the painting of commercial aircraft, will add aircraft maintenance and conversion services with an expansion at its Iberia Parish facility. With the addition, Aviation Exteriors will create 100 new direct jobs at an average annual salary of $56,867, plus benefits, while retaining 83 existing jobs.
The company will invest $2.5 million to develop a dedicated aircraft maintenance hangar with extensive tooling and equipment for the new services at the company’s base of operations at Acadiana Regional Airport near New Iberia.
“This project represents a significant advancement of Iberia Parish’s continuing efforts to diversify its economy,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Acadiana Regional Airport is a vital asset for the area, and as Iberia Parish grows its aviation industry, it attracts more quality jobs for the parish’s skilled workforce. We welcome this expansion as AvEx positions itself for continued growth and greater success.”
Aviation Exteriors was founded in 1990 with a focus on the niche aviation market of aircraft painting. The company grew from strictly commercial airline painting in its first decade to include military aircraft and corporate jets. The latest expansion of the company’s business model into maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services follows the recent acquisition of the company by new CEO Jerry Hernandez.
“I’m excited to have chosen New Iberia, Louisiana, and AvEx to fill a void in today’s market to provide world-class service to our loyal aviation customers and the industry,” Hernandez said. “After a thorough search of the Southeast U.S., I was impressed with both the local and state enthusiasm for our company’s mission and the AvEx 32-year history of operations. The company’s culture and operations coupled with the support of local agencies and the state are a definite recipe for success and align with our customers’ values and long-term needs.”
To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered Aviation Exteriors a competitive incentive package that includes the services of LED FastStart, ranked the No. 1 statewide workforce development program in the nation for the past 12 years. In addition, the state offered a performance-based grant of $2 million for upgrades to a 60-year-old aircraft maintenance hangar that the company will lease from the Iberia Parish Airport Authority. The company also is expected to participate in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
“The expansion of Aviation Exteriors at Acadiana Regional Airport speaks highly of the need for this type of business in Iberia Parish,” Iberia Parish President Larry Richard said. “This is a great opportunity to create new jobs at an existing company in Iberia Parish, along with bringing additional business opportunities to current businesses in our parish.”
“The Iberia Parish Airport Authority is extremely proud to have AvEx as a tenant for the past 32 years,” Airport Authority Chairman Patrick Norris said. “The company’s offering of passenger-to-freight conversion will be a significant resource to the airport. Acadiana Regional Airport and the Iberia Parish Airport Authority are grateful for the trust of Jerry Hernandez for this huge expansion to the airport.”
“The expansion at Aviation Exteriors brings tremendous investment and economic growth to Iberia Parish,” said Mike Tarantino, Iberia Industrial Development Foundation president and CEO. “The expansion will create quality jobs, bring new lines of MRO business to Acadiana Regional Airport and expand our offerings there. It’s another example of the great things happening in Iberia Parish.”
“One Acadiana congratulates Aviation Exteriors, and our partners at Iberia Industrial Development Foundation, on this milestone,” said Troy Wayman, president and CEO of One Acadiana. “For three decades, AvEx has continued to innovate and exceed the expectations of customers like American Airlines, Air Canada and FedEx, among other global organizations – while located at the Acadiana Regional Airport, an incredible asset to our region. We celebrate the growth of this internationally recognized operation as AvEx’s expansion also speaks to the manufacturing excellence and strong workforce found and trained in South Louisiana.”
About Aviation Exteriors Louisiana
Since its inception in 1990, the mission of AvEx has been to be the world’s leader in aviation exterior painting. Through the years, paint operations have grown and diversified to include the commercial, military and VIP markets. AvEx leadership and core group have always stood ready for new challenges and training opportunities to build and maintain a loyal customer base. New ownership with a transition into maintenance, while retaining paint operations, builds on the foundation of its core values and customer service. For more information, visit avexpainting.com.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant Louisiana economy. It is the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, boasting a wide range ofaward-winning programs and projects routinely ranked among the nation’s best. In 2021, LED attracted 64 new economic development projects representing over 18,100 new direct and indirect jobs, 9,700 retained jobs and more than $20.5 billion in new capital investment. Explore how LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana, and promotes business opportunity for employers of all sizes at OpportunityLouisiana.com.