Leonardo ribbon cutting

(From left) Hoyt Strain, manager of business recruitment with the Lafayette Economic Development AuthorityLeonardo vice president Mike Hotze; general manager Troy Penny, and Broussard mayor Ray Bourque cut the ribbon on the Leonardo Helicopters' Gulf of Mexico Support Center in Broussard on Thursday.   

Officials from Leonardo Helicopters and local elected officials celebrated the grand opening of the company’s Gulf of Mexico Support Center in Broussard on Thursday.

The Italian company, which specializes in military and commercial rotorcraft, opened its 21,000-square-foot facility that will provide blade repair, spare parts and technical support and will employ 15 people. Leonardo has over 700 helicopters in service across the Americas.

The support center is located at 1036 QCP Park Drive just west of U.S. 90

“Leonardo Helicopters is opening in Broussard, Louisiana to bring regional support to our Americas-based customers,” said Mike Hotze, Leonardo Helicopters Vice President of Customer Support and Training. “By localizing customer support in the Gulf of Mexico region, we will deliver the highest level of quality and service.”

The company's move to expand its footprint along the Gulf Coast was due to customer feedback and growing market success, allowing it to increase service to regional customers Arrow Aviation, Bristow, ERA, PHI and others. It plans to double its employment by 2023. 

Leonardo also has support centers in Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Nevada and São Paulo, Brazil. 

“Lafayette and Acadiana anchor an aviation industry that has served the energy, training and emergency services sectors for decades," said Gregg Gothreaux, Lafayette Economic Development Authority president and CEO. "The establishment of Leonardo Helicopters’ facility will build on the region’s long-standing aviation history. Leonardo will provide quality employment opportunities for our region’s experienced aviation and manufacturing workforce.”

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Follow Adam Daigle on Twitter, @adamdaigleAdv.