AgustaWestland opens assembly line in Philadelphia

AgustaWestland celebrated the grand opening of its new AW139 twin helicopter assembly line in Philadelphia, Pa.

AgustaWestland (Cascina Costa, Italy and Philadelphia, Pa.), a Finmeccanica Company, announced on February 19 the grand opening of the new AW139 medium twin helicopter assembly line in Philadelphia during an event that was attended by over 300 guests and an additional 400 employees.

The event underlined AgustaWestland’s growing presence in the U.S. and the expansion of its Philadelphia facility. In addition to the assembly of the AW139, the facility is also responsible for AW119 Ke production and supports the expanding fleet of AgustaWestland helicopters in North and South America.

The company broke ground on this new 168,000 square-foot facility in November 2005. Just over one year later in December 2006 the first AW139 assembled in Philadelphia was delivered to its customer.

Giuseppe Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland said “The decision to expand this facility and establish the second AW139 assembly line in Philadelphia highlights our growing presence in the United States and our commitment to expand and invest in the United States. The AW139 is proving to be the right solution for more and more missions worldwide including offshore transport, VIP transport, EMS, SAR, law enforcement and recently for Homeland Security here in the United States.”

This second AW139 assembly line enables AgustaWestland to meet the growing demand for the AW139 medium twin turbine helicopter with particular focus on the expanding Americas’ markets. Just over one year since production started, the AW139 assembly line is reaching full-scale production, producing 30 helicopters per year. By the end of 2008, the Philadelphia facility will grow to more than 500 employees, adding over 150 new jobs.

“The opening of a manufacturing plant is a valuable example of economic cooperation, and is important in context to the overall relations between Italy and the United States,” said Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta, Ambassador of Italy to the United States. “We can assure our continued support to the strategy of AgustaWestland in the competitive U.S. market.”

The Philadelphia facility has steadily expanded to become AgustaWestland’s third main helicopter final assembly location and continues to be the main product support center for customers throughout the Americas. Customer support is provided 24 hours per day 7 days per week for a fleet of more than 360 helicopters in the Americas. Moreover, the Philadelphia plant is also devoted to both flight and maintenance training activities.

AgustaWestland’s presence in Philadelphia dates back to 1980. A 75,000 square foot maintenance facility was built in 1988 to support a growing US commercial helicopter fleet. In 2004 the facility underwent major expansion with the relocation of the A119 Koala production line to Philadelphia and today is the sole production location for the AW119 Ke, the new upgraded version of the A119 Koala. The Philadelphia plant also undertakes the completion and customisation of AW109 Power and Grand light twin helicopters for customers in North and South America.