Plans to shut down a Sikorsky plant in Coatesville, Pa., have stalled, following a request from President Donald Trump.
“I took another look at our decision to close the Coatesville, PA Facility and have decided to keep it open while we pursue additional work,” read a Wednesday statement from Lockheed Martin CEO and president Marillyn Hewson. Lockheed Martin is the parent company to Stratford-based Sikorsky.
“It’s a good operation with an excellent workforce. We look forward to working with the government and PA Congressional delegation to find more work for this facility,” the statement said.
The plant was responsible for the completion work on Sikorsky’s S-92 and S-76D helicopter as well as modifications and upgrades of the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Program.
Lockheed Martin announced in June that the Chester County helicopter facility would shutter by the end of 2019, leaving 465 people out of a job. The company had reportedly planned to disperse production and affected workers to other facilities throughout the country.
Now that the decision has been rescinded, “We will continue to work with DOD, the Coast Guard, Congress, commercial customers and others to pursue additional work for Coatesville,” read a statement from Callie Ferrari of Lockheed Martin.
That also means Connecticut, which was poised to receive some of the reallocation, will miss out on the extra work, although the regular operations in the state already under way won’t be affected, Ferrari added.
Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky has been on the receiving end of government funding in recent years, and 2019 has been no exception.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved more than $700 billion in funding for defense programs last month as part of almost $1 trillion in spending for the next fiscal year. That includes several contracts that have been secured by Sikorsky that total roughly $3.5 billion for various projects, including six new presidential helicopters.
Legislation that would authorize the spending is awaiting a final vote by the Senate. If approved, it could mean a surge of production and employment for the helicopter makers.
Trump thanked Lockheed Martin Wednesday afternoon in a tweet before taking credit Thursday for convincing the defense contractor to reconsider, calling Lockheed Martin “one of the USA’s truly great companies.”
I was just informed by Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, of her decision to keep the Sikorsky Helicopter Plant in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, open and humming! We are very proud of Pennsylvania and the people who work there....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019
“So happy that I was able to keep Sikorsky Helicopter in the Great State of Pennsylvania KEEP AMERICA GREAT,” read a Thursday tweet by Trump.
So happy that I was able to keep Sikorsky Helicopter in the Great State of Pennsylvania. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019