The Boeing Co. Gets Another Shot at Corporate Welfare with Air Tanker Contract

Say what you will about Chicago-based (and formerly Seattle-based) Boeing Company‘s ability to field a competetive replacement for the U.S. Air Force’s (basically) obsolete KC-135 air tanker fleet, but it sure knows how to kill a contract it doesn’t like.  

There’s no question that continuing production of the 767 would be good for Boeing and its workers, but would that be good for America? That’s the question of the day. Of course Boeing could rework the popular 777 or (soon to be popular, despite what Dan Rather says) 787 into a tanker, but those planes are selling well these days. If the best reason to buy the KC-767 is just to employ Boeing workers then that smacks of corporate welfare, does it not?

Yet another aging Boeing 767 put out to the boneyard. Now it might make sense to buy one used and fly it around as a wide-bodied corporate jet, as the founders of Google do, but what’s the logic behind cobbling together a new 767 FrankenTanker or modifying a 767-400? Click to expand:

via the Photostream of Danny McL

Now back in 2004, Senator john McCain:

“…intimated that Boeing’s problems were its own making, referring to last month’s guilty plea by former Boeing executive Darleen Druyun, who admitted talking to Boeing about a job during the time she served as an Air Force negotiator on the tanker proposal.

I’m sure it was Airbus that motivated Ms. Druyun to negotiate with Boeing for a job. I’m sure they were behind that. I think it’s hilarious.”

Is the only way out of this mess a compromise deal where EADS gets half the contract and Boeing gets the other? Stay tuned.

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4 Responses to “The Boeing Co. Gets Another Shot at Corporate Welfare with Air Tanker Contract”

  1. Larry says:

    I love how everyone is dumping on Boeing, its being made out that Boeing is at fault for this whole mess, the reality!

    The United States Air Force Procurement Dept. failed miserably in fulfilling it’s sworn duty to conduct a totally transparent bid process without prejudice or favoritism.

    Boeing filed an objection, citing numerous misrepresentations, flawed specifications, and many other dubious criteria.

    The GAO being the scrutinizers of this process found that in fact Boeing was correct.

    So who royally screwed this up? those most desperate for tankers.
    The Air Force has no one to blame but themselves.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Boeing is not responsible for this whole mess.

    Boeing doesn’t have the right to a perfect process.

    The USAF still prefers the A330.

  3. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    I guess you meant “formerly Seattle-based” because The Boeing Company is now located in Chicago.

  4. sfcitizen says:

    Yes, I did. Fixed.