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US GAO rejects latest appeal into Boeing KC-135 tanker support deal

Boeing has received a further boost to its aerial tanker business activities, with the US General Accountability Office having rejected a fresh protest by Alabama Aircraft Industries (formerly Pemco Aeroplex) into its selection last September for a $1.1 billion contract to provide programmed depot maintenance for the US Air Force's current fleet of Boeing KC-135s.

Dennis Muilenburg, president of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' Support Systems business unit, says the GAO on 13 June informed the company "that they had evaluated the latest protest, and had ruled in favour of Boeing continuing with the contract".

The decision has enabled Boeing to remove a stop-work order and resume support activities at its facilities in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, Texas. "We're continuing to move forward on the KC-135," Muilenburg told Flight International during an 18 June interview in London.

© Craig Hoyle/Flight International

The GAO on 2 May rejected an earlier appeal by the losing bidder, which had claimed Boeing won the maintenance contract unfairly. "While we are disappointed with the GAO's latest decision, we fully intend to continue to press our case until the air force has conducted a full and fair evaluation of proposals," says Alabama Aircraft president Ron Aramini in a statement.

Muilenburg's unit would also provide logistics support for a future USAF fleet of KC-767 tankers should the service reverse its selection of the Northrop Grumman/EADS North America KC-30. Boeing was on 18 June informed that the GAO had upheld its appeal into the potentially $35 billion deal.


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