Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tanker-Transport Acquisition Up In The Air

The air force and Airbus have had trouble finding used planes for conversion into the A310 Multirole Tanker-Transport version, significantly delaying Chile's acquisition. Two aircraft that were to be transferred from a government-owned airline in Poland had to be scratched. European Union rules bar direct sales of surplus government property, and the required bidding process would have been lengthy. A pair of FedEx planes were then considered. But extensive corrosion also scotched that option. A couple of A310s appear to be available from Turkish Airlines, reported. Despite the setbacks, the air force says the deal with EADS remains in place. The need for new long-range transport planes was underscored when the FACH plane carrying President Michelle Bachelet and other officials had to make an emergency landing April 9. One of the engines of the aged Boeing 707 had to be shut down en route to China. The plane returned to Chile for repairs, and Bachelet (and a much smaller entourage) had to fly in an air force Citation IV.

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