Monday, February 7, 2011

No last minutes changes for EADS tanker bid

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said the European plane maker's parent company EADS would not improve its bid to build a fleet of US Air Force aerial tankers.

"It is not our style to make hectic corrections at the last minute," Enders said in an interview on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich.

Enders said EADS had made a very good offer for the contract, that also made economic sense, whereas competitor Boeing had announced "last changes" to its bid.

The trans-atlantic rivals have been locked in a bitter battle for the job, worth up to USD$50 billion, which calls for 179 new planes to start phasing out Boeing-built tankers that average about 50 years old.

Boeing and EADS must submit their final proposal revisions, also known as "best and final offers," for the aerial tankers by February 11 after separate meetings with US Air Force officials on Monday, February 7.

"Our offer was made a while ago," Enders said.

Air Force officials say they expect to award a contract to either Boeing or EADS in early 2011, but industry executives and analysts say the losing bidder is likely to file a protest, which could delay procurement of the planes for years.

Industry executives say a contract award Pentagon officials. That could delay the news until early March.

This is the Air Force's third attempt since 2001 to start replacing the fleet of KC-135 tankers.


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