Spokane loses bid to be KC-46 tanker base

Spokane’s Fairchild Air Force Base will not be the operating base for the Air Force’s new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.

The Air Force has selected Wichita’s McConnell Air Force Base as the base for the new tankers, which are being built by the Boeing Co.

Members of the Kansas congressional delegation issued a joint statement Wednesday announcing the Air Force decision. The aircraft will replace the aging KC-135 fleet flown by crews for the past 50 years.

According to the delegation, the Air Force will base 36 of the new aircraft at McConnell starting in 2016. It also will be investing $192 million in upgrades to the base.

McConnell was chosen over bases in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Spokane.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called the Air Force’s decision “extremely unfortunate.”

“Fairchild Air Force Base has a strong tradition as an integral part of our national defense and is ideally located,” Inslee said in a statement.

Boeing is building the 767-based tanker, dubbed the KC-46A by the Air Force, in Everett.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., demanded a briefing with Air Force officials saying she has “plenty of questions on how they reached this conclusion.”

However, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., was optimistic about Fairchild’s chances for future basing decisions.

“This is not a loss,” she said in a statement.

The decision announced Wednesday by the Air Force only affects the first installment of 36 tankers, McMorris Rodgers noted. Boeing is to supply the Air Force with 179 KC-46A tankers, leaving Spokane with additional chances in the future.

“Moving forward, Fairchild will compete very well,” she said.

More in Herald Business Journal

With surging Amazon stock, Bezos now worth more than $100B

It’s the first time anyone has crossed the $100 billion threshold since 1999.

Small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

“Put yourself into the community more and the money will come back to you.”

Even in the Amazon era, Black Friday shows stores are alive

Industry analysts are watching how the nation’s malls fare this holiday shopping season.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials reports faked quality data

The company makes components used to make autos, aircraft and electricity generation equipment.

Restaurant owners finding strong appetites in Detroit

The former manufacturing and car-making city is remaking itself into a technology hub.

A look at what some stores have planned for Black Friday

With unemployment low, stores are hoping customers are in a mood to shop.

Boeing bolsters team for potential 797 with leading engineer

Terry Beezhold has been chief project engineer for the 777X program.

Uber paid off their hackers — they’re far from the only ones

“More and more companies have their own Bitcoin wallets for such cases.”

Airline defendants to pay $95 million in 9/11 settlement

The litigation claimed that security lapses led the planes to be hijacked in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Most Read