Aviation & Avionics

This target group represents a long-term target that aims to leverage Terrebonne Parish’s existing resources related to aviation. At present, this industry plays a supporting role in the regional economy, with about 300 Aviation sector jobs but no aircraft manufacturing or repair operations. However, with a coordinated vision and long-term commitment to this target group, there are many opportunities to build a robust aviation industry.

The rationale for this industry in the Parish centers on the Houma-Terrebonne Airport, a general aviation airport that boasts a 6,500-foot and a 5,000-foot runway, along with 1,000 acres of adjacent industrial land. While the airport does not have scheduled passenger service, it does have six fixed base operators (FBOs) and three helicopter operators, which mainly serve the Oil & Gas industry.

The Parish is well positioned to capture rising demand in the U.S. aircraft, engine, and parts manufacturing industry. This sector is expected to grow rapidly, as air travel demand increases and airlines modernize fleets to remain competitive. Also, the domestic charter flight industry is expected to grow due to a confluence of increasing disposable income, rising corporate profits, and low fuel prices.

Within the region, the Oil industry remains a key part of the Aviation sector, as helicopter pilots and mechanics are needed to service offshore drilling facilities. A growing Aviation industry will be well positioned to take advantage of the expertise already in the local workforce. Other opportunities within this target group include maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations; drone manufacturing; and navigation and avionics systems manufacturing. A necessary component of this target will be the establishment of an Airframe and Power Plant (A&P) certificate program at Fletcher Technical Community College. Such a program would train FAA-certified workers for the Aviation industry, including mechanics, assemblers, and avionics technicians.

Rationales

  • Centrally located for regional and national markets
  • Presence of FBOs and helicopter operations
  • Long runways and ample capacity at Houma-Terrebonne Airport
  • Availability of skilled industrial workers
  • Availability of engineers, technicians, and scientists
  • Availability of post-secondary vocational training
  • Availability of on-the-job training assistance
  • Within ½ hour of major university/college
  • Opportunity to create A&P program at Fletcher Tech (C)
  • Growing local demand for rotor-based aircraft operations (P)
  • Availability of manufacturing processes (P)
  • Availability of tax credits, incentives, and low-interest loans
  • Availability of labor training incentives
  • Low rate of unionization in local labor force
  • Opportunity to retain resident workers within the region
  • Strong growth in regional Manufacturing sector
  • Average target subsector national earnings of $109,171
  • Average target subsector 10-year past employment growth rate: 2.0%
  • Average target subsector 10-year forecast employment growth rate: 2.3%
  • An existing local pool of high-demand occupations
  • Quality of place assets: availability of all types of housing, low cost of living, cultural activity, recreational opportunities, medical facilities