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Murray Questions Airbus Claims of Tanker Deal's Effect on U.S. Economy

Mar 05 2008

Flashback: In 2003, Commerce Department Debunked Airbus Inflated Job Numbers, Found Only 500 of 10,000 Jobs European Company Claimed

Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) questioned claims made by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus/EADS that the United States Air Force decision to award Airbus/EADS a $40 billion contract for air-refueling tankers will meaningfully contribute to the American economy.

“We’ve seen Airbus present a slick marketing campaign before,” said Senator Murray.  “And we have good reason to be worried.  Airbus has a history of bending the truth to try to convince Congress that it plans to invest in the U.S.  When you examine their claims, they just don’t hold up.”

Unfortunately for American workers, Airbus job claims have been inflated and debunked before.  

Five years ago, Airbus and its parent company EADS asserted that their business was good for the American economy.

On February 6, 2003, Senator Murray sent a letter asking the Department of Commerce to verify Airbus’ claims that it was a significant contributor to the U.S. aerospace industry.  Senator Murray's letter asserted that Airbus, instead of aiding the U.S. economy, harms U.S. aerospace workers and poses an ongoing threat to the U.S. aerospace industry. 

“The time has come to take a closer look at Airbus’ total impact on U.S. workers, rather than simply buying into the Airbus propaganda,” Senator Murray said at that time. “At a time when U.S. jobs are under attack from French competition, I will continue to stand up for America's workers.”

On March 18, 2003, the Department of Commerce responded to Senator Murray's call for an investigation into the Airbus claims – that Airbus had created 100,000 jobs in the United States, that it contracted with more than 800 U.S. firms and that it contributed $5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. 

The response from Under Secretary for International Trade Grant Aldonas confirmed Senator Murray's suspicions that Airbus wildly overstated its contributions to the United States economy. 

The Commerce Department could only verify 500 of the jobs Airbus claimed.  And while Airbus claimed they were working with 800 American companies, but Commerce could only find 250.

“What’s interesting is that if you peel back the veneer on Airbus’s promises this time, you start to ask similar questions,” said Senator Murray.  “With this contract, we can say ‘bon voyage’ to 44,000 U.S. jobs - and to 40 billion taxpayer dollars.”

Read Senator Murray's Letter to the Department of Commerce

Read the letter Senator Murray received back from the Department of Commerce