The other panelist is Ronald Kuhlmann, Unisys vice president of transportation. We talked about the likelihood of a Boeing vs. Airbus showdown, the possibility of sole-sourcing the aircraft to Boeing and competing the integration work, and the opportunity for the next president to make an environmental statement with his/her choice of a new Air Force One.
Listen to the full podcast
Meanwhile, the story about the USAF's replacement plans -- first reported on this blog -- has had a decent run. There have been follow-up reports by Dow Jones, Fox News and a USA Today blog. Market analyst Paul Nisbet at JSA Research contributes this insight:
"A few years ago, I would have thought it very, very unlikely that Airbus could win a bid for Air Force One. But, given what's happened with the tankers, it could be conceivable that the Air Force would give
Boeing the new tanker contract, and then offer Air Force One as a sop to Airbus," Nisbet said.
In fact, he said, the A380, which is larger than the biggest 747 model now available, could be a good choice for the presidential plane.
But leave it to Airbus to spoil the party. Here's Airbus spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn:
"While Airbus would love to see one of its family members become the new Air Force One, historically it is unlikely any proposal of ours would be very seriously considered."