No Airbus Air Force One

EADS North America announced this week that it will stay out of the forthcoming contest to supply the next Presidential fixed-wing transport aircraft. This means that there will be no Airbus platform in the forthcoming competition to supply the modified commercial widebody aircraft that will replace the current 747-based Air Force One fleet, presumably leaving Boeing as the sole prospective bidder. EADS NA spokesman Tim Paynter told the Daily Report that the company, after careful review, has determined that participation in the Air Force One program “will not help” the company meet its business objectives. Those growth objectives, he said, include “bringing value to the US warfighter, making industrial investments in the US, and insourcing high technology defense and aerospace jobs.” Instead, Paynter said EADS NA remains focused on tasks such as working with its partner Northrop Grumman to prevail in the KC-X tanker competition. Earlier this month, the Air Force announced its intent to procure a new fleet of three aircraft to serve as the next-generation Presidential fleet starting in 2017. (For more, read yesterday’s Los Angeles Times report and AFP’s report.)