by The Associated Press and Chris Durden
Boeing Co. said Friday that it will give "serious consideration" over the weekend to filing a formal protest of the Air Force's decision to award a $35-40 billion tanker contract to European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
Following a debriefing by Air Force officials Friday, Boeing said in a statement that reports of it losing the competition by a wide margin are inaccurate.
Mark McGraw, a Boeing vice president and program manager of the aerial refueling tanker program, also said company officials have "significant concerns about the process in several areas, including program requirements related to capabilities, cost and risk, evaluation of the bids and the ultimate decision."
A week ago Friday, The Air Force surprised nearly everyone paying attention to the high stakes contract that EADS, the parent of Boeing rival Airbus, and Northrop Grumman of Los Angeles will replace the first 179 planes in its aging fleet of nearly 600 air-to-air refueling tankers.
The decision sparked a fierce backlash on Capitol Hill, led by lawmakers from states that would have gained jobs had Boeing won the contract.
If Boeing decides to appeal the decision, the protest would go to the Government Accountability Office.