Aviation Exteriors Louisiana, an aircraft painting company based at the Acadiana Regional Airport in New Iberia, laid off 48 workers in early November, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurt some of the area’s major industries.
The company submitted a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice to the Louisiana Workforce Commission on Nov. 5, and the layoffs went into effect Nov. 6, according to the LWC. In a letter to the workforce commission, the company’s president, Raymond Bernard Jr., said the company received notice that a main customer would no longer be giving Aviation Exteriors Louisiana its business due to the pandemic.
“The Company carefully analyzed this situation and its available options, and it is with regret that I must report to you that the company has decided to substantially reduce its operations,” Bernard wrote.
The layoffs affect jobs such as safety observers, service helpers, painters, aviation maintenance technicians, facilities helpers, facility maintenance mechanics, stockroom clerks, paintbooth assistants and administrative assistants, according to the notice.
Aviation Exteriors Louisiana’s notice is the third for New Iberia since the pandemic began.
Bristow U.S., a company that offers helicopter transportation, search and rescue, and aircraft support services, announced in September that 89 employees would be laid off Dec. 1. Bristow is also located near the Acadiana Regional Airport.
ASRC Energy Services Omega laid off 180 employees in June. The company, which services the oil and gas, chemical, and manufacturing industries, is based in the Port of Iberia.
Custom Compression, a company that produces oil and gas processing equipment, also shed 75 jobs in the Port of Iberia, although it was not required to file a notice.
In his Louisiana Economic Outlook for 2021-2022, LSU economist Loren Scott presented a “mixed message” for the Port of Iberia and New Iberia. Chart Industries, which makes cold boxes for the liquefied natural gas industry, is expected to double its 150-person workforce over the next year. But with much of its economic activity based around the oil and gas industry, the port will need to see oil prices rebound to see significant improvement.
Since the week ending March 21, just before Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the stay-at-home order, Iberia Parish has had 14,388 initial unemployment claims, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. For the week ending Nov. 7, the parish had 1,841 continued claims.