Chester County's Sikorsky helicopter plant shutting down, hundreds to be out of work

COATESVILLE, Pa. (WPVI) -- For years inside a sprawling plant a few miles west of Coatesville, a highly skilled workforce built and tested civilian and corporate helicopters that could cost $13 to $25 millions or more.

Now Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company that operates the plant has decided to close it by the end of 2019.

Many of the workers earn $50 to 100 thousand a year and payed local taxes. Dave Reynolds, chairman of the Sadsbury Township Board of Supervisors, said the plant shutdown will be felt economically.

"It is a significant impact, 465 jobs for this small of township will have a significant impact on the tax base," said Reynolds.

Employees we approached on Thursday declined to speak on camera. Some saying Lockheed Martin asked workers not to speak to reporters.

At Harry's Hotdogs, a nearby lunch spot, there was empathy for long time workers.

Tom Henderson said, "If the jobs leave here what are they going to do?"

He said some workers had been at the plant for 10 to 20 years.

Bill Marion of Sadsbury Township said, "It's a shame it's going to happen to community itself and the people who do work there."

Lockheed Martin says it is working to try to place those losing their jobs at other company locations such as Montgomery County, New York or Connecticut.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.