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PHI closing Morgan City base, official confirms - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

PHI closing Morgan City base, official confirms

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Photo Courtesy: MGN Online Photo Courtesy: MGN Online

Petroleum Helicopters Inc. is closing its Morgan City base, an official confirmed Wednesday morning.

Yesterday, a number of viewers let us know that they had been laid off and told that at least part of the company's St. Mary Parish operations would be closing. 

We reached out to PHI, and got a generic statement about evaluating its business operations and dedication to core values. So we spoke to St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff, who said he hadn't been able to get an answer from the company, either. 

Today, we spoke with a PHI spokesperson who did confirm that PHI has "made the difficult decision" to close its Morgan City base. 

"We have made the difficult decision to close our Morgan City base due to a very difficult economic environment and changes in our customers' needs. We continue to work through the details, including timing, and will do everything possible to limit the impact on the vast majority of our employees and the community," the spokesman said. 

"Based on the challenging economic environment and significantly changing customer needs, we are in the difficult position to have to reduce a small percentage of our workforce in Lafayette, between 1.5 and 2% percent of our total workforce. We have and will continue to carefully evaluate our staffing models to best serve our customers. While we are committed to protecting as many of our employees as possible, to us, even one person negatively impacted is significant."

The base was mostly used to transport workers offshore, and those operations will be moved to a different PHI base, the spokesman said. Numbers on how many people would be affected in the St. Mary Parish closure were not available or a timetable on when the changes would take effect.

Hanagriff told us last night that he's "very concerned" about the rumors he's hearing. He said he spoke with PHI officials but didn't get "100 percent confirmation" on what he's hearing. 

The loss of the Amelia operation of the company would have a devastating effect on St. Mary Parish, in terms of jobs and taxes, Hanagriff said. 

Hanagriff said he's trying to put together a meeting with company officials. 

We'll have more on this story as it develops. 

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