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In a memo, Boeing's Albaugh says priority is to win tanker contest

Boeing’s new head of its commercial aircraft division, Jim Albaugh, sent a note to employees today.

In it, Albaugh describes his priorities as three-fold: delivering on the 787 and the 747-8 programs and winning the aerial refueling tanker competition being conducted by the U.S. Air Force. Boeing is locked in competition with Northrop Grumman for a bid to replace the Air Force’s aging tankers.

On the tanker program, Boeing has the opportunity to capture orders for upward for 400 airplanes and their long-term support, he wrote. “This is the kind of franchise program that comes along only once every several decades, and Boeing is uniquely qualified to win it.”

The 787 and 747-8 are both “game changers and will give our customers the kind of efficiency necessary where cost and environmental considerations are so important,” he said in the note.

Although he’s met face to face with only a few of Boeing’s 787 customers, it’s clear that the late delivery of the 787 and 747-8 have impacted customers, he said.  But,Albaugh said, “they continue to be great partners who want to continue to work with us.”