Boeing Bid Win Could Mean Thousands Of Jobs For Kansas

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Friday, July 9, 2010

As recently as two months ago, a Boeing representative says a tanker contract win would result in thousands of Kansas jobs. Boeing met the Department of Defense's deadline with Friday's bid proposal.

Boeing Wichita employees are pulling for their tanker team to win the chance to build the next Air Force Refueling Tanker. As expected, Boeing's Aerial Refueling Tanker bid is based on their 767 commercial airliner. Their bid took 8,000 pages to cover all the details.

Boeing says their tanker would save taxpayers $10 billion in fuel costs over the plane's 40-year life cycle compared to the Airbus tanker. Boeing also says it will cost 15-20% less than the Airbus plane to maintain.

In May, Boeing said if they won the deal Kansas would benefit from about 7,500 jobs with a $388 million annual economic impact. In a company statement, Boeing Defense President/CEO Dennis Muilenburg says "Boeing has more than 60 years of experience developing, manufacturing and supporting tankers for America's war fighters, and we're ready to build the NewGen Tanker now."

Kansas Congressman Todd Tiahrt likes Boeing's chances but says it's not a done deal. The World Trade Organization recently ruled EADS used illegal start-up subsidies provided by European governments.

Congressman Tiahrt also says he is concerned the European plane maker could use a strategy of severely underbidding Boeing, even taking a loss in order to get the tanker contract. The Pentagon is expected to select a winner in mid-November.

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