- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2002

PARIS (Agence France-Presse) Airbus Industrie has been invited for the first time to compete for a U.S. government defense tender, for a $2 billion order to supply refueling jets.
Airbus' parent company, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., said it had protested to the U.S. government because there had been no call for bids, saying it could propose an offer through Airbus at a much lower price than U.S. rival Boeing.
"We made a request in this sense to the Pentagon," an EADS spokeswoman said. "Our request was deemed acceptable and the process is under way."
French business newspaper La Tribune reported yesterday, without naming its source, that Airbus had been invited to compete with Boeing for the 10-year contract to supply 100 refueling jets to the U.S. Air Force and Navy.
The contract is estimated by Boeing to be worth $20 million per aircraft, or $2 billion over the decade.
Airbus, 80 percent owned by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. and 20 percent by BAE Systems of Britain, will propose a modified version of its A330-200 and offer a 40 percent discount on the price quoted by Boeing, the report said.
The two companies were likely to share the order, La Tribune said, quoting a source familiar with the situation.

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