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Boeing bills Air Force One project US$168m for COVID-19 delays

written by Sandy Milne | April 30, 2020
Air Force One aircraft. (Source: Australian Aviation archives)

Boeing has stung the US Air Force VC-25B project, better known as Air Force One, with a $168 million add-on charge, citing disruptions to its engineering process caused by coronavirus.

In Q1 results posted yesterday, the company said that “the reach-forward loss on VC-25B is associated with engineering inefficiencies from the COVID-19 environment”.

“We believe these inefficiencies will result in staffing challenges, schedule inefficiencies and higher costs in the upcoming phases of the program,” it said.

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However, company chief financial officer Greg Smith suggested at the meeting that Boeing may be able to recover some of these losses per the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which contains numerous provisions intended to provide relief to the battered aerospace sector.

Prior to the announcement, analysts within the USAF also predicted the VC-25B program would continue unhindered. At a design review held 16 April, Roper even went to far as to say that the VC-25B program would benefit from the outbreak.

“Work continues down in Texas … and we’ve been able to benefit from COVID-19 on the defence side because a lot of the engineers and tools and talent that would be dedicated to other commercial functions within Boeing have now been available to help that program,” Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, said.

“I don’t see any slips right now for VC-25B because of COVID-19.”

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