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Airbus | Britain/U.K. | Contracts - Awards | Procurement Innovations | Rolls Royce | Scandals & Investigations | Specialty Aircraft | USA

British AirTanker Deal May Go Private

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The UK government has named a European consortium as its preferred bidder for a GBP 13 billion (USD $25 billion; EUR 19 billion) contract to build refuelling and operate aircraft for the RAF, and will now move on to negotiations. The preferred AirTanker group is led by European defence giant EADS, and includes British firms Rolls-Royce and Cobham. AirTanker plans to use 15 to 20 Airbus A330-200 planes to refuel RAF fighter jets and military planes (EADS owns 80% of Airbus, and Britain's BAE Systems owns 20%). Under the PFI scheme, the private sector will own and maintain the refuelling tankers on behalf of the RAF. When not in use for refuelling, the tankers would be converted to passenger planes or used for military transport purposes. The PFI project is expected to run for 27 years, with the first tanker coming into service in 2010.

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