Having clinched a $16 billion deal to lease 100 Boeing KC-767 tankers to the US Air Force, Boeing has set its sights on a potential world market it believes could be worth $100 billion over 30 years.

The US Department of Defense approved the lease deal last month. From 2006 the USAF will lease the 100 tankers at $138 million each. The USAF will have the option to buy the aircraft at the end of the lease for an additional $40 million per aircraft or $4 billion for the fleet. The aircraft will help replace the USAF's ageing Boeing KC-135 fleet.


The 767 tanker was launched two years ago with a contract from the Italian air force for four aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in 2005. Most of Italy's aircraft will be modified by partner Aeronovali in Naples. Japan followed in March this year with a contract for four aircraft, with first delivery scheduled for early 2007.


With the USAF deal, Boeing will be able to ramp up production to 20 aircraft a year. The 767s are built at Boeing Commercial's Everett, Seattle plant, then transferred to the manufacturer's Wichita, Kansas factory for completion and conversion to tanker mode.

Now, says Bob Gower, Boeing vice-president, 767 tanker programmes, focus will shift to the worldwide market, with potential opportunities in the UK, Australia, Korea and the United Arab Emirates. "We see this as a $100 billion and 600 aircraft market over the next 30 years," says Gower.

Source: Flight Daily News