EADS makes bid on $35B Air Force tanker contract

By Reuters
Posted July 8, 2010 at 12:27 p.m.

Airbus parent EADS has submitted a bid to supply refueling tankers to the U.S. Air Force, the company said Thursday.

“We’re proud of our offering, which is the only one in this competition that is flying and refueling the full array of receiver aircraft,” EADS North America Chairman Ralph Crosby said in a statement.

“The U.S. Air Force will select the tanker that best meets the American warfighters’ requirements. We are anxious to conclude the acquisition process and are confident in the superior capabilities of the KC-45.”

But in a setback in Airbus’ battle with Boeing over rival government support programs, the World Trade Organization said it was again delaying a panel decision in a European Union case against U.S. support for Boeing.

The report had been expected July 16, but now could be delayed until mid-September, European Union officials said.

Last week, the WTO ruled that Airbus had benefited from a long history of government subsidies that have had an adverse effect on Boeing’s market share.

The EU countercomplaint against U.S. support for Boeing has lagged the U.S. case against Airbus, though each began at around the same time.

“The European Commission is extremely disappointed to learn of this additional delay into the issuing of the interim panel report,” the commission said in a statement.

“The time lag between this case, and the United States’ case against support to AirbusĀ  has constantly increased over the six years this dispute has been running and the gap is now at nearly a year.”

EADS North America and Airbus’s commercial rival, Boeing, are locked in an increasingly bitter race for a contract worth up to $50 billion to supply 179 new aerial refueling planes to the U.S. Air Force.

Boeing is expected to submit an offer by Friday, the closing date for bids.

EADS declined to comment.

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