Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said that “Boeing was the clear winner” in a competition for a the right to build refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force. Boeing, which overspent EADS by over $8 million in lobbying dollars since 2008 (including $5 million spent since January), beat out top competitor EADS for the highly coveted contract in the culmination of a nearly-decade-long competition.
Despite EADS’ ally in Northrop Grumman, Boeing’s alliance with the International Machinists and Aerospace Workers Association was the differencemaker in this process. Boeing plans to build its tankers in Washington state, which relies heavily on union labor, contrasted with EADS’ plans to build in a state that does not rely on union labor — Alabama.
Last week, Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) held a joint press conference to urge President Obama to consider the dramatic subsidies European-owned EADS receives from the French government, which enable the company to Pokies beat Boeing’s bottom line. Gulf Coast Governors drafted a letter to the president on EADS’ behalf asking him to ensure “parochial interests” did not impact the decision.
Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee, said Thursday was “one of the happiest days of my professional life,” lauding his efforts to change the Air Force’s price evaluation process as a possible contributor to Boeing’s success. Boeing estimates the contract will allow the company to support 50,000 jobs in the state.
Boeing’s planes will burn 24% less fuel than those EADS would have made, a difference in long-term cost that was discovered after evaluating the 40-year, versus 25-year cost, a measure proposed by Dicks.
Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) said, “This competition has been challenged before, and it’s not unlikely it will be challenged again. It will ultimately be up to EADS to determine whether they will protest this decision, and I will fully support whatever decision they make.”