The Boeing Company said the U.S. Air Force's decision to choose another company for a contract to replace aerial refueling tankers will not affect Boeing's Gresham plant or its employees.

'There will be no impact to this site,' said Don Schmidt, spokesman at Boeing's Seattle headquarters, about Boeing of Gresham.

On Friday, March 7, the Air Force completed a debriefing for Boeing to explain why they selected a team of Airbus, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), for a $35 billion contract to replace aerial refueling tankers, Schmidt said.

The debriefing came one week after the Air Force's announcement that it had chosen the Airbus team over the Boeing KC-767 tanker offering.

'We spent several hours with Air Force leaders, listening and probing, all in an effort to better understand the reasoning behind their decisions,' said Mark McGraw, Boeing vice president and program manager of the KC-767 tanker, in an online statement. 'While we are grateful for the timely debriefing, we left the room with significant concerns about the process in several areas, including program requirements related to capabilities, cost and risk; evaluation of the bids and the ultimate decision.'

Boeing filed a formal challenge to the Air Force decision to award the tanker contract to Northrop Grumman and its European partner EADS. The Aerospace giant, which is now headquartered in Chicago, filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), asking it to review the decision.

The contract is now suspended and the GAO has 100 days to make a decision on the challenge.

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