Sikorsky to close Coatesville helicopter plant, 240 jobs to be lost

Lockheed Martin announced Thursday that it would close the Sikorsky helicopter plant in the Coatesville area — near Chester County Airport in Valley — with the loss of some 240 local jobs.

Not surprisingly, many of the elected officials who brokered a deal to keep the plant open in 2019 expressed anger and frustration at the decision — including U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-6), who fought to keep the plant open in 2019.

“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 in a statement issued Thursday.

Houlahan said she had worked with federal officials to help keep the plant viable and is frustrated by this decision.

“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,” said Houlahan. “As a former small business owner who represents this growing region, I have the privilege of meeting with different companies throughout Chester and Berks counties. My team is reaching out today to some I’ve recently visited which do advanced manufacturing and are hiring. In addition, I will be hosting a job fair at West Chester University on October 12 with a focus on jobs for displaced Sikorsky workers. Some of our region’s best and brightest are working in Coatesville and I will do everything I can to keep them here.”

In a statement, the Maryland-based company said that, despite working with customers and federal, state and local officials, it could not find enough additional work to sustain operations at the Coatesville plant.

The manufacturing will move to other Lockheed Martin locations, the company said. 

The closure comes after years of reductions of work forces at the plant. The company said Thursday that it expected the closure would cost the jobs of about 240 employees while another 120 will be offered the opportunity to relocate or work remotely.

The plant had been slated to close in 2019, but a bipartisan group of elected officials worked with the company to keep the facility open.

The primary work at the plant included Sikorsky’s S-92 and S-76D helicopter completion work, as well as Canadian Maritime Helicopter Program modifications and upgrades. The plant also works on the VH-92 aircraft for use by presidents and White House personnel, going by the name Marine One.

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