Tue, Jan 15, 2008
American Planemaker Says USAF Would Benefit From Savings
While perhaps not as headline-grabbing as the news EADS plans to
build the upcoming Airbus A330 Freighter in Alabama -- but only if
its KC-30 tanker wins a US Air Force competition -- Boeing also had
some news to share Monday regarding its entrant in the KC-X bid.
The American planemaker publicized the results of a Conklin &
de Decker study, showing Boeing's commercial 767 is far more fuel
efficient than its nearest Airbus competitor.
In the study -- which was funded by Boeing -- Conklin
& de Decker used published data to calculate the fuel
consumption of flying a fleet of 179 767-200ER and Airbus 330-200
airplanes over a 40-year service life. Boeing says the purpose of
the analysis was to provide a comparison between the KC-767
Advanced Tanker, based on the 767, and its major competitor in the
US Air Force's KC-135 Tanker Replacement Program... the KC-30.
The winner of the KC-X competition will supply 179 new aircraft
to begin replacement of the service's aging refueling
Boeing reports the study showed the 767 fleet burned 24 percent
less fuel than the A330s, and would save approximately $14.6
billion in fuel costs. That number is significant since the Air
Force spent approximately $6.6 billion on aviation fuel costs in
"Senior Air Force leaders have said that when a barrel of oil
increases by $10, it costs them about $600 million a year," said
Mark McGraw, vice president, Boeing Tanker Programs. "So it is
critical, especially with rising fuel prices, that the Air Force's
next refueling tanker meet or exceed their requirements and be as
efficient as possible."
It's impossible to draw a direct comparison between the
767-200ER and the A330-200, as the Airbus plane -- and, thus, its
tanker variant -- is notably larger. Airbus is leveraging this
difference by noting the KC-30 could fulfill a variety of roles in
addition to the primary use as a tanker.
Conversely, Boeing says the KC-767 is "right-sized," and
fulfills all the Air Force's requirements... without lugging added
space and weight around.
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