After losing a $40 billion Air Force tanker contract to European competitor Airbus and filing a formal protest with the Government Accountability Office in early March, Boeing has announced that they will build the tanker regardless of the US Government’s decision.
It was thought that the Air Force decision would result in the eventual 2012 closure of the 767 assembly line in Everett, and the addition of thousands of jobs to Airbus in Europe and Northrop Grumman in Alabama. However, with over 160,000 employees spread across more than 70 countries, massive corporate momentum at Boeing resulted in the decision to manufacture the planes for the government in spite of losing the contract.
When running the numbers, Boeing financial executives determined that it would in fact be cheaper to go ahead with their plans to build the planes than it would be to change course, even without the $40 billion contract. As an added bonus, with Boeing providing planes to the government at no charge, no jobs will be added for Boeing’s smug and evil competitors in Europe and Alabama.
Representative Norm Dicks welcomed the news. “Take that, Europe,” he said. Dicks had been fighting in Congress to have the Air Force reconsider their now-pointless contract.
Although the Boeing plane was beaten by the Airbus / Northrop Grumman plane on every single one of the Air Force’s nine key criteria, it turns out that free is a very good price. “We had decided on the Airbus plane,” explained Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, “but when Boeing indicated that they were giving away free tankers… you just can’t turn down free.” Wynne compared the situation to choosing between a ten dollar t-shirt you really like and a free shirt with a corporate logo. “You pick the free shirt, duh,” he said.
In a conference call with reporters and analysts, Boeing Vice President Beverly Wyse stated that Boeing’s decision was simply a reinforcement of its commitment to being the world’s leading aerospace company and a warm cuddly friend of the American economy–especially in the Puget Sound.
Workers at Boeing’s Everett plant, who belligerently protested upon hearing the original decision, celebrated by getting drunk and driving around town shooting road signs.
Officials at Airbus and Northrop Grumman declined to comment on the news, except to mutter obscenities under their breath and hang up on us when we called to rub the loss in their faces. In addition, Mobile Mayor Sam Jones refused to indicate whether he would use the city’s Alert Notification System to announce the news in a telephone message to Mobile residents, as he did when he foolishly believed Northrop Grumman would be adding thousands of jobs in his town.