AgustaWestland recently held a grand-opening ceremony for its new AW139 medium twin helicopter assembly line in Philadelphia. The event underlined the company’s growing presence in the U.S. and the expansion of its Philadelphia complex, which in addition to the AW139 assembly is also responsible for AW119 Ke production and support of the expanding fleet of AgustaWestland helicopters in North and South America. The company broke ground on the 110,000-ft2 facility in November 2005, and just over one year later in December 2006 the first AW139 assembled in Philadelphia was delivered to its customer.
The second AW139 assembly line is enabling AgustaWestland to meet the growing demand for the AW139 medium twin-turbine helicopter around the world, but with particular focus on the expanding Americas’ markets. Just over one year since production started, this AW139 assembly line is reaching full-scale production and will be able to produce 30 helicopters per year. By early 2008, employment at the Philadelphia facility had grown to approximately 500 people.
“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,” said Giuseppe Orsi, CEO, AgustaWestland. “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.”
The Philadelphia facility has steadily expanded to become the company’s third main helicopter final assembly location and continues to be the main product support centre for customers throughout the Americas. 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-ft2 maintenance facility was built in 1986 to support a growing U.S. 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 customization of AW109 Power and Grand light twin helicopters for customers in North and South America.