US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said there will be a split buy on the KC-X tanker program over his dead body.
“I’m laying my body down across the tracks,” Aviation Week quotes as saying in this short article.
It’s not Robert Gates but you get the point.
We previously wrote a story for Commercial Aviation Online about Boeing Capital Corp.’s War Room methodology in tracking the “funding gap” for 2009 deliveries. We posted that story on this website at this link.
We followed that CAO story up with a profile of the Airbus BCC equivalent, the Watchtower Committee. Here is that story:
Boeing just announced it is cutting production of the 777 from seven to five a month and delaying plans to increase rates on the 767 and 747, effective next year, it was announced today. No rate adjustment is planned for the 737 at this time. The rate for the 737 is 31 a month.
The decision comes a month before BCA President Scott Carson previously said it would.
The head of GE backs a plan to split the acquisition of the KC-X USAF aerial tanker between Northrop Grumman and Boeing, according to this interview done by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
GE Aviation will supply the engines on Northrop’s KC-30; Pratt & Whitney was selected to power Boeing’s KC-767.
And now, a plug for a conference organized by Air Transport World and Leeham Co.
Boeing took a hard hit on the Defense budget announced today by Sec. Robert Gates. The C-17 program will be canceled after the current contract is filled. The CSAR-X helicopter procurement is canceled. The Airborne Laser system based on the 747, is reduced to research only. The Next Gen bomber is off the table. There are other programs in which Boeing was involved that are gone, too.
This makes the recompete for the KC-X aerial tanker all that much more important. Gates said this will proceed in the summer.
Update: Defense Industry Daily has this superb recap of the winning and losing programs.
We did a podcast with Addison Schonland of IAG and George Talbot of the Mobile Press-Register about the implications for the tanker procurement.
Here is a link to Gates’ formal statement.
Update, April 3: The New York Times has this long piece on the prospect of a split procurement.
It is a subtle but major shift on the controversial proposal to split the KC-X aerial tanker contract between Northrop Grumman and Boeing.
KIRO TV (CBS) in Seattle interviewed US Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Boeing/WA), who throughout the previous competitions has been dogmatically in favor of a single contract to Boeing. Dicks is #2 on the House Appropriations Committee, where any funding bill will have to originate. The chairman of the committee is US Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), who came out solidly in favor of a split contract as the only way to break the logjam over an award.
Airbus may scrap the troubled A400M program, according to this London Telegraph report of a Der Spiegel interview with Airbus CEO Tom Enders.
Peugeot Citroen fired Christian Streiff, who designed the Power8 restructuing program for Airbus but then resigned after three months in a power struggle. Here is the report picked up by The New York Times.
Update, 4:00 PM March 30: Airbus discounted the London Telegraph/Der Spiegel report and says the company remains committed to building the A400M. Here is the Reuters report.
The picture about the future of the A400M is about as clear as this one.
Update, March 26, 2:20PM PDT: Bloomberg News moved this piece in which ILFC’s CEO says he’ll get the lessor out from under AIG’s “cloud.”
Mega-lessor International Lease Finance Corp. filed its 2009 10K annual report March 25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In it, the company discussed possibilities that could create what’s called a “going concern” situation.
In accounting-speak, the reference is all about bankruptcy. If a company or its auditors raise questions about the ability to continue as a “going concern,” this means there is a possibility the company could seek protection in the US bankruptcy courts. This almost always is a Chapter 11 reorganization filing rather than a Chapter 7 liquidation action.
The countdown is underway for the outstanding order of 10 Airbus A380s by mega-lessor International Lease Finance Corp.
ILFC was an early customer for the super-jumbo jet and suffered two year delays along with the other customers when Airbus’ industrial production issues arose for the giant aircraft. As part of the restructured contract for the order as a result of the delays, ILFC obtained the option to cancel the orders in 2010.