Pentagon Frustrated With Boeing After Moving Air Force One Work to Texas
Though delivered almost 20 years ago, Boeing is still very heavily involved in maintaining the Air Force’s two highly-specialized Boeing 747-based VC-25 VIP transport jets used almost exclusively to transport the President.
Earlier this year, Boeing announced that it would be closing its Wichita, Kansas, facility by the end of 2012, combining its operations into other facilities in Oklahoma City, Seattle and San Antonio, the latter of which would see Air Force One work.
Problem is Boeing couldn’t convince enough of its Wichita workers to move south, and they haven’t been able to find enough experienced technicians in San Antonio to work on Air Force One’s advanced circuitry and high-tech communications gear. Air Force One techs must have five years of experience on either the VC-25 or a similarly special-mission airplane.
Bloomberg obtained a letter dated July 30 from Margaret Wright, an Air Force contracting officer, to Boeing brass, stating, “Boeing’s relocation effort will challenge every aspect of the program.”
Of course, the Pentagon doesn’t have much choice when it comes to Air Force One contractors. They’re not about to drive Air Force One into an Airbus or Lockheed or BAE hangar and ask them to fix it. Stay tuned.