Back to Work

While we wait on the Government Accountability Office to rule later this week on the Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition, GAO has just rendered a verdict in another tanker-related protest. Ruling on the side of the Air Force, GAO on June 13 dismissed the remainder of the protest points filed by Alabama Aircraft Industries Inc. (formerly Pemco Aviation) over the service’s choice of Boeing over AAII in September 2007 to perform depot maintenance work on the KC-135 tanker fleet. AAII announced the decision in a statement on that same day. As a result, the Air Force has lifted a stop-work order that it had imposed on Boeing during the protest period, allowing the company to resume its contractual activities, Reuters news wire service reported June 16. The contract has a total estimated value of about $1.2 billion. This saga may not be over, however, as AAII President Ron Aramini said his company will continue to press its case until the Air Force conducts a “full and fair evaluation of the proposals.” This would show, he said that AAII is “the highest quality and lowest cost source” for the KC-135 depot work. We are not sure exactly what avenues he intends to pursue to achieve this. An AAII spokeswoman said she could not elaborate beyond the company’s statement. AAII won its first protest with the GAO against the contract award in December 2007. But after the Air Force went back and recalculated the risk of Boeing’s proposal, per the GAO’s recommendation, it selected Boeing once again in March as the winner. This led AAII to lodge a second complaint. The GAO rejected part of the second protest already in May. With its ruling last week, it has now ruled on the remainder of the second protest.