Airbus SAS parent the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) said yesterday (Tuesday) that it intends to compete against The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) for a $35 billion U.S. military refueling tanker contract, continuing a ten-year battle recently plagued by protectionism claims.
This is the third act in a drama that Boeing Commercial Airplane CEO Jim Albaugh refers to as "the longest-running soap opera since 'Days of Our Lives.'"
EADS dropped out of the bidding six weeks ago when its partner in the deal, Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC), claimed the Pentagon's contract proposal had been drawn up to favor Boeing. But the Pentagon agreed to extend the bidding deadline from May 10 to July 9 after European officials claimed the situation reeked of trade protectionism.
EADS tried to find another U.S. company to pair with, but instead was forced to enter a solo bid with the help of American subcontractors. EADS said it felt compelled not to give up because its A330-based tanker is a better fit for the job than Boeing's 767-based tanker.