Michigan-based CHI Aviation will close its Galliano operations and lay off 74 helicopter pilots, mechanics and support staff.
A notice was filed with the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and layoffs will take place over the next two months.
“CHI Aviation recently learned of business circumstances that will result in excess capacity in its offshore business,” General Counsel Mary E. Comazzi, says in a letter dated Oct. 8. “The company analyzed this situation and its available options, and it is with regret that I must report to you that the company has decided to close its operations at its facility located in Galliano, La.”
CHI’s slogan is “Mission Possible.” CHI officials could not be reached for comment Friday. The company’s helicopters are used in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, construction and emergency services.
The layoffs are the latest to hit the energy industry, which has struggled to cope with low prices. Oil is trading at less than $50 a barrel, about half the amount it was a year ago. Experts don’t expect prices to recover for another year or two.
“Unfortunately, we’re expecting more (job losses),” Lafourche Parish President Charlotte A. Randolph said Friday. “But each one hurts.”
Louisiana lost 7,800 oil and gas jobs for the 12 months ending August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Houma-Thibodaux metro area, which includes Galliano, lost 900 over the same period. A number of Louisiana oilfield or oilfield services companies have trimmed jobs. At least 10 reported plans to lay off between 1,180 and 1,427 oilfield or oilfield services workers between February and Dec. 31. Most companies avoid announcing layoffs, but the federal government requires advance notices when a plant closes and when at least 50 people lose their jobs in a 30-day period.
The oil patch numbers are unlikely to improve in the short-term.
On Wednesday, economist Loren Scott said the energy sector would continue to be a drag on the Houma-Thibodaux metro area. Scott and fellow economist Jim Richardson’s economic forecast projects the Houma-Thibodaux area will lose 2,000 energy sector jobs in 2016.
The Workforce Commission said all of the CHI employees will get information on the agency’s services available to them. The Workforce Commission also recommends the workers visit their local Business and Career Solutions Center to receive services, which include information on unemployment insurance benefits, résumé and interview skills training and job-searching tools.
Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.