Flight International reports that the Air Force issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a new Air Force One to replace the Boeing 747-200 that will be 27 years old when it’s replaced.
The USAF previously said that it is interested in a new Air Force One, and Airbus had provided information about its A380.
Boeing is determined to keep the exclusivity it’s had for the airplane since providing the very first jet AF One, a Boeing 707-120, to President Eisenhower. Later model 707s were provided up until the 747-200 entered service for President George HW Bush.
Boeing will likely offer the 747-8I, but according to Flight, the Boeing 777, the Airbus A330 and the A340 might qualify. We’d have to think that the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 could also qualify, setting aside service entry dates, but the Secret Service is quite conservative and may not be ready to accept the new composite technology for the Commander-in-Chief. Even though the twin engine Boeing 767 had been in service for years, the Service wanted a four-engine 747 for safety when replacing the 707.
This has the potential to be another controverisal Airbus vs. Boeing competition. Although we’re only talking about two airplanes vs 179 in the KC-X tanker competition, and even though a European company won the contract to supply the next generation of White House Marine helicopters, the status symbol of flying the President of the United States around is beyond compare. Air Force One represents the United States.
Our view that the Northrop/Airbus KC-30 is better than Boeing’s KC-767 for the Air Force tanker is well known. Airbus and Boeing can debate all day long about which airplane is better, the A380 or the 747-8. Both airplanes are good, sound aircraft. In this case, as an American, we come down firmly on Boeing’s side: Airbus could pay the government to make the A380 Air Force One, but we think the president ought to fly an American aircraft and Air Force One ought to be Boeing. Airbus shouldn’t even waste its time on this one.
Layoffs at Boeing
Boeing confirmed layoffs hinted at some weeks ago in this press release. The company will lay off 4,500 of its nearly 75,000 workers.
The move is prudent, given the global economic conditions and deteriorating airline market. But SPEEA, still in contract negotiations for its Wichita (KS) unit, doesn’t think so; see SPEEA’s statement after the jump: Continue reading