Protest filed

Just a brief note to update you - with today’s release:

Boeing Protests U.S. Air Force Tanker Contract Award

Comments (18)

Kevin Merrifield (Tulsa, OK):

Having worked for both companies, I was shocked when NGC won the award. I would have been even more shocked and disappointed if we, Boeing, did not file this formal protest.

There is no doubt in my mind that we should have won this competition in the first place and I look forward to seeing this work its way through to the end.

Scott (San Francisco, CA):

Long time Boeing supporter, but from where I stand, this looks a lot like sour grapes. Boeing is hurt that they lost to Airbus on what they considered their turf. Just because this is a USAF contract does not assume Boeing must be the chosen supplier. I applaud our government for actually looking beyond their traditional suppliers.

Erwin (The Netherlands):

I guess free trade only works when it benefits you right? You'd think taxpayers would want their money to be well spent, but apparently subsidizing a company who in this case is offering an inferior product is the kind of hypocritical protectionist measure people want to see. Competition is favored, as long as American companies win, of course.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Dot every I, cross every T, say what you mean, mean what you say, that's one lesson we are consistently told from elementary school to college.

If I learned one thing from my third grade teacher Ms. Galarzy and all the other scary teachers from elementary school, Ms. May, Schultz, Michael, and others, is that honesty counts especially in writing. If the people who written the evaluation files made the irregularities and dishonest they failed a basic tenant taught in the third grade.

Though the orders have been made for the KC-45 179 in total, thankfully not 500 - every precaution should be made to make sure that the competition and evaluation is fair and uninhibited by politics, partisanship, and or money. On the finding of irregularities Boeing should make a formal complaint with the Government Accounting Office, but with that, the already made orders for the KC-45 should stay but I believe no more orders should be made for the Northrop Grumman/EADS aircraft as a tanker. From this Boeing has an even stronger case for petitioning the KC-767 to the USAF and the American people will be in even greater support for the Boeing product.

We as the public have to be the watch-dog when it comes to the fairness of government or corporate evaluations and studies, in this case Boeing acted as the watch-dog when irregularities where discovered in the files of the evaluation. In regard to who finds the irregularities it is imperative to expose those wrongs and bring them to the public eye.

John K (Eugene, Oregon):

Not to gloat, but I mentioned early-on that there seemed to be two different planes in the bidding competition. The winning Airbus entry was larger, carried 45 tons more fuel, and carried more passengers than the Boeing 767.

It seemed obvious that the Air Force had changed the tanker specifications during the bidding process. They appear not to have mentioned these changes to Boeing. I hope someone in the Air Force gets fired for this unethical stunt. It was not an accident.

Ron B Mesa, AZ, USA:

First off, I want to thank Mark McGraw, those with the KC767 Tanker team, those from BCA and from IDS, and those from the Boeing Head office who spent the past weekend going over all the information from the AF debriefing and pouring over the Boeing proposal and the AF's RFP to see that there were flaws that warrant serious considerations for filing a protest and to finally arrive to the decision to submit to the GAO a formal protest of this Air Force Tanker Contract.

Now it is time for the GAO to review this protest to see if they will also find flaws within the Air Force's decision of the Tanker contract. Then await for the GAO's decision and recommendation as to what the Air Force will need to do with this Tanker contract.

As Mark had said, "Everyone with The Boeing Company, the KC-767 tanker team can hold your head high". Be proud and continue on with your job with pride and integrity.

Jon grams (Colorado Springs, CO):

I agree with the decision to protest if only because it will open the possibility for the 777LR-based tanker. The problem with both the 767 and A330 options is in my view, engine efficiency. While the PW4062 and CF6-80E1 engines are proven, they are essentially 20+ year old technology, have rather low bypass ratios, and are significantly less efficient than the GE90-110B/L/115B engines.

Also, the 777 wing is more advanced than either the 767 or A330 wings. Lastly, the KC-10's will need to be replaced (eventually) as well.
All these factors are so important because the new tanker will likely be serving for 50 years from IOC.
(IMHO, the 767AT should have been offered with the GEnx-2b67 engine from the 747-8).

Teacher (Arizona):

According to an article on a major national news website, French President Nicolas Sarkozy states in respects to the US of A and China, "Our main concern is to set up a mechanism that would allow us to strike against the imports of countries that don't play by the rules of the game on environmental protection."

They want to sanction our imports, but wish for us to buy a bunch of A330's from them? Does anyone else see a problem along these lines?

Phil (Wokingham, UK):

Not wishing to enter the pro's & con's of foreign out sourcing & the colourful partisan jingoisem that surrounds the selection of the A330/KC45, if they (Boeing) did not understand the RFP or they consider the goal posts moved then it is totally correct that they should question the USAF's procurement decision & processes.

Blessed with an acute awareness of defence procurement processes on both side of the pond, what concerns me here is that Boeing are seemingly questioning the very ethics of the selection process - a very bold and potentially damaging move indeed.

Such objections are not generally received or seen in a favourable light by those involved in the original decision process and poses considerable risk on Boeing's part, especially if the original decision is upheld.

I can only therefore assume Boeing considers that via the GOA process there is a genuine grievance to be answered here, which bodes the question when/why/who/what did the communication process breakdown.

Tom Pang (Hong Kong):

I doubt whether protest can have any effect to the final decision.

Anyway, it's a joke for me, knowing that the most powerful country use other country's plane for air refuel :)
If I am the government, I must use my country's product in the first priority (even the product is slightly less efficient). Supporting the country's sectors and industry is an essential responsibility for the government!

Joachim (Seattle):

Regarding "Teacher"'s comment from March 15: I think you misunderstood Sarkozy's statement. He does not want to tell the US what to import or not, but he proposes to put a tax on goods imported INTO France from countries that do not ratify the Kyoto protocol for example. Makes sense as a step to reduce global carbon emissions.

James (Honolulu, Hawaii):

Having read the "public redacted" version of the protest, if everything Boeing alleges is true, the United States Air Force ought to relieve a lot of people of their duties. From this document, it seems the USAF decided to play favorites, with NG/Airbus benefiting from every decision and Boeing suffering with every decision. I wonder if, as other reports indicate, that Sen. John McCain or people associated with him, lobbied/whispered/intimidated the USAF to make sure Airbus got the advantage.

I retract what I said earlier--that Boeing should not protest the award. It seems abundantly clear now that this "transparent" and "fair" process, to quote the USAF, was in fact opaque and unfair.

A third party--independent, objective and neutral--is clearly needed to reevaluate the competition and process, because it seems the USAF isn't at all capable of picking the right airplane.

Lee Hutchins (Sinton, Texas):

I'll leave the if's and and's to you folks at Boeing. My biggest problem is we will be opening the door for EADS to build the Airbus 330 Passenger plain with us financing it. EADS meeds to build a plane factory in the US to compete with Boeing due to the low value of the dollar. The US Taxpayer will be paying for this to happen.

This is stupid on our part. The European countries have been subsidizing EADS and it makes it hard to compete with the advantage they have.

We have no business helping them build a factory with our taxpayer money to compete with with our industry.


This whole tanker deal is a set up of our government.This deal will go before are congress and MR. McClain will win us 50% of the deal and guess what,he will look like a hero and we will all vote for him to be are next president.God bless America

Alberto Maya R. (Medellín - Colombia):

It is important to remember that before the WTO there is a complain on the subsidies granted by European states to EADS/Airbus. In other words, if the tankers contract is given to EADS, it would be fulfilled thanks to those subsidies.

Interesting to see what the democrat candidates say regarding Free Trade Agreements and what they have to see when the USAF try to give contracts, jobs and business opportunities to the Europeans, against the "home interests".

Jorge Toro (México):

According to what Mr. Maya wrote above, for democrats one thing is to be "strong" against LDC (Less Developed Countries) but something different is what the USAF is doing against the interests of the American industrie. The tankers contract for Europeans is a affront to the aeronautical industry in America and a blow to the democrat´s ideals expressed in the presidential campaign.

martin nix (everett, washington):

ALTERNATIVE FUEL TANKER. There IS a fatal flaw in the Airbus Proposal...No Oil, No Fly. This proposal ignores global warming, peak oil, oil shortages, high price of fuel...this tanker ain't going to fly without fuel. So...I am proposing an alternative fuel tanker. It takes off on hydrogen, flys on alcohol or natural gas, and refuels other jets via biokerosene (similar to biodiesel).

These fuels are made from renewable energy, hydrogen from solar, alcohol from wood/cardboard waste, natural gas from garbage, and biodiesel/kerosene (a special type) from weeds and algae. Boeing did design a natural gas tanker for an Canadian oil company, and we do have a hydrogen power jet designed. The technology exists, not only to build such a tanker, but also to sell the fuel manufacturing at the same time. The technology to convert existing jet turbines to alt fuels does exist, and has been constructive comments welcome.

Doug Ferrata (Albuquerque, NM):

The following is a letter I sent to my Senators and Representative...

The heavily subsidized European corporation Airbus recently underbid Boeing to win a $40 Billion contract to build the new KC-45 Air Force tanker aircraft. And they did this bidding a larger aircraft that Boeing was not allowed to bid. You have to wonder how they could bid a larger aircraft for a lower cost.

Is it efficiency, or the fact that they are subsidized? Airbus’ unfair competitive position was demonstrated several years ago when they received a $1 Billion subsidy from France and Germany to design and manufacture their new A380 airliner. They have used this financial advantage to underbid Boeing on commercial contracts around the world. The United States currently has a case pending with the World Trade Organization protesting Airbus’ unfair, subsidized competition. Because of this pending protest, Airbus should never have been allowed to bid on this contract.

The long term consequences of this award are immense. The actual cost could well exceed $150 Billion with follow-on contracts and support. The majority of these funds will go to Europe. Boeing planned to keep 85% of the contract in this country. In addition, Airbus will build an assembly plant in the US to assemble the KC-45, which is based on their A330 commercial airliner. They plan to use the same facility, and the lower cost of US labor, to assemble the A330 here and increase their competitive advantage against Boeing.

Boeing is one of our largest exporters, and contributes significantly to our balance of trade. In addition they are one of our most important defense contractors. Allowing Airbus to undercut Boeing will have grave consequences on both our economy and our defense capability. If we allow foreign corporations to become the source of our major weapons systems, then we lose control of our own destiny. We can never allow this nation to be dependent on foreign companies for our defense.

The decision to award the KC-45 contract to Airbus was plain stupid, and must be reversed.

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