Mike Mecham of Aviation Week has a thorough analysis of what’s behind the decision to close Boeing Wichita.
Contrast Mike’s story with this ridiculous analysis. It’s very, very rare that we call out someone else but this one is so far off the wall that we can’t help ourselves. (It should be noted Loren Thompson was paid by Boeing to do a report about the Airbus subsidies and the tanker competition.)
George Talbot of The Mobile Press-Register weighed in with this story.
Wichita (KS) politicians continue to grouse about the decision by Boeing to close the defense operations there and move jobs to Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Puget Sound (Seattle).
The Seattle Times has this article, quoting the Wichita mayor and other officials. The portion of the article that caught our eye is this:
“We thought we had a marriage,” said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, who until his 2007 election was a business manager at Spirit AeroSystems, the airplane-manufacturing operation sold off by Boeing two years earlier.
“It’s taken a lot of work for us to control our outrage,” he said. “So don’t ask me… are you outraged, because the answer will be yes, with probably another four-letter word attached to it.”
Kansas politicians feel particularly “angry and disappointed and dismayed,” as one county commissioner put it, because they led the Republican flank of the decadelong congressional push to secure the $35 billion Air Force tanker contract for Boeing.
In return they were told the company and its suppliers would generate 7,500 direct and indirect jobs after Boeing clinched the contract last February.
“We as a community demonstrated our loyalty to the Boeing Company when they asked us to stand behind them and to go fight for them,” Brewer said.
Now he’s singing a different tune. “Don’t think for one second that we are not exploring our opportunities to go out and recruit Airbus… We are making those phone calls.”
Well, that’s going to be a tough sell. During the tanker competition, Kansas politicians, notably then-Sen. Sam Brownback (now governor) and ex-Congressman Todd Tiahrt (a former Boeing employee as well) couldn’t say enough bad things about Airbus is their campaign for Boeing’s tanker. Tiahrt was particularly vitriolic, though Brownback was no shrinking violet, either.
With the expectation that the USAF is going to announce its tanker award this week, we’re going to forego our Odds and Ends kick-off and deal with the tanker.
We’re going to try and synopsize many of the issues that are “out there” in cyber-land, to try and make some sense out of what sometimes seems to be a senseless process.
In no particular order, here we go:
Will it ever end?
This is the question about the interminable KC-X tanker competition.
Unofficial word is now that the USAF is to announce its award in February, after slipping from January, December, November, October and August.
US Sen. Carl Levin announced that he will hold a hearing by February. 1 into the snafu by the USAF over sending Boeing and EADS information about the performance of each other’s tanker. Levin, holding the hearing at the request of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Boeing/WA), will try and determine if this is a harmless or fatal error to the procurement process. We have written before that mistakes like this happen and the government has set procedures for handling such errors, but in the highly charged competition, Boeing is taking advantage of the mistake to lay the groundwork for a protest should it lose.
Reuters just moved this story that EADS is preparing to bid the contract alone. L-3 Communications appears to be definitely out of partnering with EADS and “for now” EADS is prepared to go it alone, Reuters says.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-EADS/AL) blasted US Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Boeing/WA) for what Sessions termed attempts to intimidate potential EADS partners. Here is this report.
From strictly a taxpayers’ point of view, the EADS competition should result in better pricing for the Pentagon whoever wins. The past competition has already seen the price driven down compared with the original Boeing lease deal from 2002-2004 and an improved airplane offering from Boeing.