Two Years After Trump’s Reprieve, Chester County Helicopter Plant Closing

Two Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King helicopters depart Miami International Airport after a visit from then-President Barack Obama in 2015. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

By Associated Press

August 21, 2021

Lockheed Martin estimated that about 240 employees will lose their jobs and another 120 will be offered the opportunity to relocate.

COATESVILLE — Lockheed Martin said Thursday that it will close its Sikorsky helicopter plant in Coatesville, Chester County, saying it has made a final decision on it amid a downturn in the commercial helicopter sector.

The Maryland-based company said that, despite working with its customers and federal, state and local officials, it had been unable to secure enough additional work to sustain operations at the Coatesville plant.

It said it would consolidate the work in other Lockheed Martin locations. The company has been shedding workers from the plant for years, and said Thursday that it expected this would result in a reduction of about 240 employees while another 120 will be offered the opportunity to relocate or, if possible, telework. It said it still will employ over 4,260 people in Pennsylvania.

Lockheed Martin two years ago had moved to close it, telling the facility’s then-465 employees that the plant would close by the end of 2019, but relented following a request from then-President Donald Trump.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), criticized Lockheed Martin’s decision, citing the effort made at both the state and federal level to ensure operations at the plant were sustainable. 

“After spending the last two years working with Lockheed Martin, White House officials in two administrations, and state and local partners to find ways to enable the plant to continue operating, I am frustrated and disappointed that we find ourselves here,” said Houlahan. “This is not the outcome we wanted but now my priority over the next seven months is helping these highly-skilled workers find new jobs in our community and finding a productive use for the facility that contributes to the tax base and the vibrancy of Coatesville.”

Major programs at the plant have included Sikorsky’s S-92 and S-76D helicopter completion work, as well as Canadian Maritime Helicopter Program modifications and upgrades. It also works on the Marine One aircraft used by presidents and White House personnel.


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