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Regional companies assess tanker decision

Triumph Composite Systems Inc. could be stung by the U.S. Air Force decision to go with a tanker bid submitted by the maker of Airbus planes, the purchasing manager for Triumph’s West Plains plant said Friday.

The facility manufactures floor panels and ducts for the Boeing 767, the plane rejected Friday by the Pentagon, said Mike Mooney. It makes no components for the Airbus plane that was selected, the A330.

Triumph Composite Systems bought the plant from Boeing in early 2003.

Goodrich Corp. spokeswoman Lisa Bottle said she was unsure how much the choice might benefit that company’s West Plains plant, which makes aircraft brake pads.

The pads are carbon, she noted, and the Boeing 767 does not have carbon brakes.

The A330 does, but the pads will not necessarily be made by Goodrich. That decision is up to the brake manufacturer, Bottle said.

Kaiser Aluminum Corp. spokesman Geoff Mordock declined to comment on the contract award, noting only that the company has long-standing relationships with both Boeing and Airbus.

Kaiser’s Trentwood rolling mill makes sheets and plates for the aerospace industry. The company has invested $139 million in the plant to meet new demand driven by the rise in orders for new airplanes.

Together, the three companies employ more than 1,400 people in Spokane.

Boeing’s Machinists Union issued a scathing statement after the announcement of the deal, calling it “poorly timed (and) ill-considered.”

The statement said Boeing would have added 9,000 jobs in Washington state had it won the contract.

“At a time when the American economy is teetering on the edge of a serious downturn, the prospect of intentionally sending thousands of good paying jobs to Europe is outrageous,” it said.


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