Disappointed Boeing says tanker bid gives Airbus edge

WASHINGTON, Feb 24, 2010 (AFP) - Boeing said Wednesday it was "disappointed" by the latest US Air Force request for proposals for a 35-billion-dollar aerial refueling tanker contract, saying it may give rival Airbus an unfair advantage. The Boeing Company said it had received the final request for proposal (RFP) document for the US Air Force KC-X Tanker competition, published as the New York Stock Exchange closed at 4:00 pm (2100 GMT). "While we appreciated the open dialogue with the Air Force throughout this process, we are disappointed that the RFP does not address some of our key concerns," said Jean Chamberlin, vice president and general manager of the Boeing USAF Tanker Program. Boeing's concerns include "Airbus's unfair competitive advantage derived from subsidies from its sponsor European governments -- subsidies that the World Trade Organization has found to be illegal and harmful to US workers and industry -- and how fuel and military-construction costs over the life of the tankers will be factored into consideration of the competing bids," Chamberlin said. "We will review the RFP in its entirety and in detail before offering further assessment." The US aerospace giant also welcomed the release of the final RFP as an "important milestone" for the air force and a "strong signal that America is moving forward on replacing its air refueling capability -- a critical enabler for projecting power and protecting this nation." "We've said consistently that it is up to the Air Force to determine the KC-X requirements for a new generation of tankers. It's our responsibility to respond to those requirements," Chamberlin said. by Lachlan Carmichael (c) 2010 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Feb 24, 2010