Boeing wins Air Force tanker contract; EADS won't build planes in Mobile
Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:08 PM Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:28 PM
By George Talbot
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force today selected Boeing Co. over the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., or EADS, to build a new fleet of refueling tanker jets, according to lawmakers briefed on the decision.
Top Air Force officials are announcing the decision at a Pentagon news conference. The contract has been estimated at a value of more $35 billion.
The award also must be funded by Congress, where Boeing has shown it has clout. EADS said last week it was not likely to challenge the award unless it saw "egregious" errors in the selection process.
The decision marks a reversal for the Air Force, which previously selected the larger KC-45 tanker offered by EADS over Boeing's KC-767 tanker. Analysts had believed EADS would again win and Mobile-area officials were gathered at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center for what was expected to be a victory party.
View full sizeMobile Mayor Sam Jones speaks at the podium, right, as Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, left, looks on grimly as officials speak after learning that Boeing Co., not EADS, won the lucrative U.S. Air Force contract for aerial refueling tankers. Officials gathered today at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center for what they had hoped would be a victory party given that numerous analysts had predicted an EADS win, which could have meant thousands of jobs for Alabama. (Press-Register/John David Mercer)
In selecting Boeing, the Air Force reversed a 2008 decision that unraveled under protest by Boeing and fierce political pressure from its allies in Congress.