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Lockheed Martin will leave the Pennsylvania factory open at Trump's request

FILE PHOTO: The Lockheed Martin logo is presented at Euronaval, the world naval defense show held at Le Bourget, near Paris, on October 23, 2018. REUTERS / Benoit Tessier

(Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp. has decided to maintain the Sikorsky helicopter factory in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, after US President Donald Trump has asked his executive director to continue operations, the company said on Twitter on Wednesday.

"At the request of President Trump, I re-examined our decision to close the facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and decided to keep it open while we continued our work," he said. CEO Marillyn Hewson, quoted by Lockheed Martin.

Trump applauded the decision in a tweet stating, "We are very proud of Pennsylvania and the people who work there. Thanks to Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest American companies! "

The F-35 fighter manufacturer announced its intention to close the plant, which "completes" the Sikorsky S-92 and S-76D helicopters, citing a multi-year crisis in the rotorcraft industry. The factory employs about 465 employees.

"We look forward to working with the government and the Congress delegation of the Palestinian Authority to find more work for this facility," the company said.

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Patrick Toomey said in a statement that Lockheed's decision offered short-term certainty to plant workers who were expecting to lose their jobs or be transferred later this year.

His compatriot Bob Casey, a Democrat, said he was skeptical about this announcement, but said he was concerned about the lack of specific plan.

US automaker General Motors Co has been under pressure for months from President Trump for the fate of an unused assembly plant in northeastern Ohio, which he has since announced.

Ohio and Pennsylvania are both key to Trump's chances of re-election in 2020.

Reportage of Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall

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