European planemaker Airbus pulls out of Air Force One bidding
By Peter Pae | Tribune Newspapers
February 2, 2009
The parent of European aircraftmaker Airbus SAS said it would not enter the competition to build a replacement for Air Force One, a move that all but leaves Chicago-based Boeing Co. as the sole potential bidder for the contract.
The decision, announced Wednesday, figures to quell criticisms that began to mount in recent days, particularly from "buy American" proponents in Congress who have derided the possibility that a U.S. president could fly in a European-designed airplane.
"Outsourcing Air Force One is not an option. It's un-American," said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), as he proposed legislation last week prohibiting the awarding of the contract to a foreign company.
This month the Pentagon took the first steps in replacing the plane by requesting information from potential providers, including Airbus. Boeing and Airbus are the only two companies capable of building an aircraft as large and sophisticated as that required for the U.S. president.
The Air Force, which operates and maintains the president's aircraft fleet, is looking to buy three planes to replace two Boeing-built 747 jumbo jets that were made nearly two decades ago.
The prospects of an Airbus Air Force One, however, prompted heated debates over what really is made in America, given that Boeing planes have a large number of parts made overseas.
A spokesman for the U.S. unit of Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. said the decision was based on a business case that didn't make sense.
Los Angeles Times
Poe Legislation keeps Air Force One Made in America
Rep. Poe files bill prohibiting foreign manufacturing of Presidents plane
WASHINGTON, DC Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) filed legislation to require that the aircraft used as Air Force One by the President of the United States be an aircraft that is made in America by Americans.
Of all the things that should be made-in-America, Air Force One is the number one priority, said Poe. Since the 1960s, Air Force One has stood as a symbol of national pride and a testament to the manufacturing ingenuity of Americas aerospace technologies. As the nations most important military command and control aircraft, outsourcing the production to a foreign company constitutes a national security risk.
Congressman Poe filed the Air Force One Built in America Act in response to the recent announcement by the Pentagon that the replacement of the current jet used by the President could come from a foreign company. The current jet is not scheduled to be replaced until 2016, however this legislation would ensure that any and all future jets manufactured for use as Air Force One be built in the United States.
Currently, there are only two companies capable of making an aircraft with these capabilities Chicagos Boeing and Airbus of Europe.
Airbus has a demonstrably poor track record against US security interests, including efforts to sell military helicopters to Iran in 2005 and American-made military aircraft and technology to Venezuela, continued Poe. A company with this kind of history should not be building our most important aircraft. Boeing is the leader in the aerospace industry and with nearly 100 years experience designing aircraft, I know that they can exceed any expectations of a foreign company.
The Air Force One Built in America Act:
- Requires that the aircraft be built by an American-owned company in the United States
- Requirements of an American owned company include:
- the chief executive officer of which is a citizen of the United States
- at least two-thirds of the board of directors and other managing officers of which are citizens of the United States; and
- that is under the actual control of citizens of the United States
Congressman Poe serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittees on Europe and Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.