Boeing (BA) Whines About Tanker Loss

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Now that Boeing (NYSE: BA) has officially lost the bidding for a new Air Force tanker to Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) and EADS, parent of Airbus, it will probably make an official complaint to the US government.

"What is clear now is that reports claiming that the Airbus offering won by a wide margin could not be more inaccurate," the company said in a statement, according to Reuters. Almost all the comments made by military officials contradict that, so it is difficult to believe it is true.

Part of the leverage that Boeing has is members of Congress who want to keep jobs building the tanker in the US. EADS would do some of the work in its home markets of France and Germany.

Boeing may end up cutting its own throat. If EADS and the governments in large European countries believe that the decision about who should get the contract is purely political, Boeing might find some of its commercial airplane orders from the large flag carriers in the region cut. That could cost Boeing more than the tanker contract is worth.

Douglas A. McIntyre