GAO calls for reopening of US tanker deal auction

Posted on 19 Jun 2008 by The Manufacturer

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has ruled in favour of Boeing in the US Air Force (USAF) tanker deal controversy.

The military’s decision to award its £17.8 billion ($35 billion) tanker contract to European-owned Northrop Grumman had sparked anger from Boeing officials who argued that its bid had not been adequately considered.

In a radical move, the GAO – the agency which audits the US Government – has recommended that the auction be reopened so that Boeing may have a second chance, and that the company should have its legal fees reimbursed by the USAF should it go on to win the contract.

The GAO’s decision is not legally binding, but remains a threat to the USAF and Northrop Grumman deal.

“Our review of the record led us to conclude that the Air Force had made a number of significant errors that could have affected the outcome of what was a close competition between Boeing and Northrop Grumman. We therefore sustained Boeing’s protest,” said Michael Golden, the GAO’s legal counsel for procurement law.