Chevron Is Growing

Chevron/Texaco Inc. will hold a dedication ceremony Tuesday for its newly opened aircraft operations and helicopter maintenance facility. The $2.2 million, 37,400-square-foot plant, located on four acres adjacent to the Picayune Municipal Airport, has been in operation for a little less than a month. The operation has a total employment of 161 people who are divided between shore bases in Pascagoula and Louisiana.

Seventy-one of those employees work in Picayune. ``We are always proud and very thankful any time we get a business that will create jobs for our local citizens,'' said Mayor Greg Mitchell. ``I hope Chevron will continue to do that.'' The facility was constructed by Magnolia Air 1 LLC and leased back to Chevron/Texaco. The property is leased to Magnolia Air 1 by the City of Picayune. The plant is headquarters for Chevron/Texaco's Gulf of Mexico aircraft operations and as a major helicopter maintenance facility, said Lou D'Elia, Manager of Aircraft Operation for Chevron/Texaco.

The operation had been located at the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans but was flooded in 1998 during Hurricane Georges, which prompted officials to move the facility to a location which was not prone to flooding. The facility has a fleet of 31 helicopters and one airplane. ``Each aircraft flies roughly 100 to 150 hours per month,'' D'Elia said ``They come up here roughly every 300 flight hours for a major maintenance inspection.'' The facility has a shop for overhauling turbine engines, gearboxes and hydraulics, and an avionics shop.