EADS/Airbus says ‘No’ to Air Force One competition

EADS and its subsidiary Airbus won’t compete for the Air Force competition to replace the US President’s Air Force One.

The very idea of the President of the United States possibly flying around in a French airplane was blasphemous, even for us. With only three orders in the USAF Request for Information (RFI), there was no way EADS would assemble the A380 in the US, in contrast with the prospect of building the KC-30 air force tanker in Mobile (AL), meaning the airplane would have been assembled in France.

This leaves Boeing as the sole-source supplier for the new Air Force One and its two backup airplanes. Boeing will in all likelihood offer the 747-8 (as opposed to the 777 or, even more far-fetched, the 787). The 777 and 787 are considerably smaller than the 747-8, and the new composite technology for the 787 is something the Secret Service probably would like to see proved before entrusting POTUS to it.

Boeing has eight VIP orders for the 747-8I.

EADS’ statement is below:

“In 2007 at the USAF’s request, EADS North America provided technical information and answered questions regarding several Airbus widebody commercial aircraft as the service conducted its Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) to recapitalize the current fleet of presidential aircraft.

“EADS North America’s strategy for growth in the US is based on bringing value to the US warfighter; making industrial investments in the US and insourcing high technology defense and aerospace jobs. After careful review, we’ve determined that participation in the AF-1 program will not help us meet these business objectives.”

“Though the company will not respond to this RFI, we remain focused on once again winning the KC-X competition with Northrop Grumman, delivering the UH-72A LUH to the US Army and meeting the needs of our US defense and homeland security customers.

“We reiterate our strong commitment to the US Department of Defense and to supporting the warfighter with our products and services.”

3 comments on “EADS/Airbus says ‘No’ to Air Force One competition

  1. Scott, I really appreciate your blog but not this time because of one word : “blasphemous”. Is the statue of liberty blasphemous because it has been built in France ? Is it blasphemous that so many places in the US are named after La Fayette ?
    În french, a “blasphème” is an insult to God.
    Do you think that the POTUS is a God ?
    And is it an insult to anybody when one flies on the best and biggest airplane in the world ?
    It’s a missed opportunity for the US to apalogize for the french bashing about the war in Iraq.
    The USA is a nation of immigrants and for example the NASA didn’t find “blasphemous” to hire german ex-nazi engineers to design rockets which brought american astronauts to the moon.

  2. Pingback: The Middle Seat Terminal : Air Force One to Remain American Made

  3. Agree with Danny, ‘French airplane’ is something from Norm Dicks’ vocabulary, who never passes the chance of a good old Airbus bashing. :-)
    Although EADS’ decision is based, as they say, on business reasons, I think politics has played a major role. I’m certain they knew that there is no chance at all of winning this RFP, so why bother. US doesn’t owe France anything though….

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