September 17, 2012

Pentagon Frustrated With Boeing After Moving Air Force One Work to Texas

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A US Air Force Boeing VC-25 (SAM 29000) flies over Mount Rushmore. (Photo by US Air Force)

The Pentagon has fired off a sternly-worded letter to Boeing regarding the airframer’s move of Air Force One repairs from Kansas 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.

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  • Like everything with the current administration, this is a political statement rather than a reflection of any lack of capabilities of the Boeing team in San Antonio. Since there is no political gain by moving the work to a state that is very Republican, the administration would prefer it to remain in Kansas or some other state where they have a chance.

    • longacre

      It’s a done deal and Obama has very close to zero chance in Kansas based on current polls. It seems likely this is a legitimate problem, not a political one.

      • R.D.Are

        Indeed. Sorry, can’t blame everything on the President. The administration has about as much control over this as the decision of what toothpaste you will buy next month. That is a highly specialized type of technician to say the least.

  • This is America wallowing in the slop of Obama politiek. Get used to it. You voted him in, afterall!