In a shocking upset Friday, Boeing lost the long-awaited and lucrative Air Force refueling-tanker contract to a competing bid based on an Airbus plane.
The Pentagon chose Northrop Grumman, partnered with Airbus parent EADS, to build the next generation of Air Force tankers, a contract worth an estimated $40 billion.
Boeing’s loss means the 767 assembly line in Everett will wind to a close around 2012 when the current commercial orders run out. No layoffs are likely, though, as the roughly 600 production workers plus supporting engineers will transfer to other programs, including the 787 Dreamliner.
But Washington state has lost out on the chance to add as many as 2,000 jobs locally at Boeing ”” and perhaps more than 6,000 new jobs overall.
Instead, those jobs will go to Europe and Alabama.
Large sections of the Northrop/EADS tanker will be built in Europe; they will be shipped across the Atlantic for assembly at a new widebody-jet plant to be built in Mobile, Ala., which will gain some 1,500 direct jobs.