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July 11, 2019

At Trump's behest, Lockheed Martin keeping Coatesville, Pennsylvania helicopter plant open

The president congratulated CEO Marillyn Hewson in a tweet

Lockheed Martin Corp. has decided to keep its helicopter plant open in Coatesville, Chester County, after President Donald Trump pressed its owner to reconsider closing.

CEO Marillyn Hewson announced on Wednesday that "at the request" of Trump the plant will remain open while the company searches for work in the slumping rotorcraft industry. 

"At the request of President 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," a statement released Wednesday evening read.

On social media on Wednesday night, the president tweeted: "We are very proud of Pennsylvania and the people who work there," and "Thank you to Lockheed Martin, one of the USA's truly great companies!"

The plant — which does completion work for Sikorsky’s S-92 and S-76D helicopters — has been in a multi-year slump, it management blaming a lack of work at the plant and in the rotorcraft industry. Lockheed Martin announced last month it would close the Coatesville facility by the end of the year because it didn't have enough orders to stay operational. It employs 465 people.

Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, lauded the move on social media, too, thanking the president and congressional colleagues for supporting the decision. 

"Lockheed Martin's commitment to keep operational the Sikorsky helicopter plant in Coatesville provides short-term certainty for 465 workers, who were expected to either lose their jobs or be re-located later this year," Toomey said.

But Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey expressed concern about the lack of a "specific plan to bring new work to the Coatesville facility that would keep the plant open beyond the next several months." 

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