Helicopter Maker Opts For Phila. Hq

Posted: December 03, 1986

The city yesterday signed a deal that will establish the U.S. headquarters of Agusta Aviation - one of the world's biggest helicopter manufacturers - in Philadelphia.

Agusta will close operations in Bucks County, North Jersey and Houston to consolidate its North American headquarters in a 75,000-square-foot complex to be built at North Philadelphia airport.

The $3.7 million project will bring 75 jobs to Philadelphia. Commerce Director Charles Pizzi said many more jobs could be created if Agusta can use its expanded complex to increase its sales in the U.S.

"People talk about Philadelphia being an international city, but unless we have transactions like we're signing, all we'll have is a lot of bark and no bite," Pizzi said.

Agusta executive Enrico Striano said the company chose Philadelphia because of its available aerospace industry labor pool and its central location relative to other cities in the Northeast. Agusta, based in Italy, is the world's fourth largest helicopter company, Striano said. The company employs 11,000 people worldwide and posted 1985 sales of more than $900 million.

He said the North Philadelphia complex will be used to assemble Agusta helicopters that are shipped from Italy. The headquarters will also serve as the company's U.S. sales and service office, where Agusta products will be displayed, demonstrated and repaired. Agusta has 27 percent of the commercial helicopter market in the U.S., he said.

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