Airbus gets tanker deal over Boeing - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Airbus gets tanker deal over Boeing

WASHINGTON - A congressional staffer says Boeing has lost a Pentagon contract for 179 air tankers to an Airbus-Northrop Grumman venture.

The order is worth $40 billion and could lead to more orders as the Air Force replaces its aging fleet of 600 tankers.

Boeing planned to use the 767 airframe for the tanker. Without the Air Force order Boeing may have to shut down the line at the Everett factory. The planes would have been turned into tankers in Wichita.

Airbus is using an Airbus A300 plane, to be modified in Alabama.

Boeing had previously landed the Air Force tanker order but lost it in an ethics scandal.

Washington Congresswoman McMorris Rodger made the following statement Friday on the announcement:

"Today's announcement is a surprising disappointment for Washington State," Cathy McMorris Rodgers said.  "Boeing was the smart choice for taxpayers for building the tankers quickly and efficiently, right here in the U.S."

"Replacing the aging tankers is especially critical for Eastern Washington and Fairchild Air Force Base.  Strengthening and expanding the role of Fairchild is one of my top priorities," continued McMorris Rodgers.  "Any challenge that may follow today's news needs to be done so quickly so that we don't have further delay in getting these new tankers built."

Washington Senator Patty Murry made the following statement Friday as well:

"We are shocked that the Air Force tapped a European company and its foreign workers to provide a tanker to our American military.

At a time when our economy is hurting, this decision to outsource our tankers is a blow to the American aerospace industry, American workers and America's military.

"Boeing has 75 years of experience building tankers, and its workers are the best in the world.  We look forward to asking tough questions about how the Air Force reached this decision."

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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