Fuel Efficiency and Life Cycle Costs Win One for Boeing

The Air Force recently announced that it would award a $35 billion contract for aerial fueling tankers to Boeing, reversing a 2008 award to the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS).

The award was based on a mathematical algorithm that factors in the government’s preference for a plane that would be less expensive to operate over a longer time span.  The Air Force agreed to changes in the bidding rules that projected the cost of the fuel used to power the tankers over a 40-year period, rather than 25 years. Air Force officials have said that the lengthier projections made sense, given that many of its tankers have already been operating for 50 years.  In addition, commercial planes similar to the EADS tanker burned about 1,900 gallons of fuel per hour, while Boeing’s plane used less than 1,500 gallons.

Read more in the New York Times and in the News Tribune.