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Sun, Jun 15, 2008

Alabama Aircraft Industries Announces Protest Over KC-135 Contract

Company Challenges Award Of Ongoing Maintenance To Boeing

Alabama Aircraft Industries, Inc. announced late last week the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest filed by the company on March 11 challenging a recent decision regarding ongoing maintenance of the US Air Force fleet of KC-135 air tankers.

Based in Birmingham, AL, AAII performs maintenance and modification of aircraft for the US Government including the KC-135 as well as aircraft for foreign and domestic commercial customers.

In its protest, AAII was challenging the selection of Boeing over AAII for a billion dollar contract to maintain the Air Force's fleet of KC-135 tankers. As recently as December 27, 2007 and February 1, the GAO had issued decisions finding that the Air Force's selection of Boeing was flawed.

AAII President Ron Aramini issued a statement explaining, "While we are disappointed with the GAO's latest decision, we fully intend to continue to press our case until the Air Force has conducted a full and fair evaluation of proposals. We believe that a proper evaluation would result in the selection of AAII as the highest quality and lowest cost source for the maintenance of the Air Force's KC-135 fleet."

The KC-135 Stratotanker is currently the oldest airframe still in use by the Air Force. The recently announced KC-45 aerial refueling aircraft awarded to a Northrop Grumman /EADS partnership in February is set to augment and eventually replace the KC-135 in service. With the first KC-135 was delivered in June of 1957 and the last one was delivered to the Air Force in 1965, the average KC-135 airframe in service is nearly 50 years old.

Despite the new tanker announcement, the KC-135 is slated to remain a part of the fleet through 2040, thus requiring ongoing maintenance contracted services.

FMI:  www.alabamaaircraft.com, www.gao.gov

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