Boeing Sues A Supplier For Its Air Force One 747-8 Conversion

On Thursday, it was revealed that Boeing filed a lawsuit against GDC Technics and canceled related contracts it has for the Air Force One replacement program. The US planemaker cites delays in GDC Technics completing interior work as the prime factor in the legal action.

Boeing Sues A Supplier For Its Air Force One 747-8 Conversion
The current Air Force One Presidential transports, a pair of VC-25As (modified Boeing 747-200s), will be replaced by modified 747-8s. Photo: Getty Images

Failure to meet contractual obligations

According to Reuters, Boeing states that delays on the part of GDC Technics “have resulted in millions of dollars in damages to Boeing and threaten to jeopardize work that is of critical importance to the (U.S. Air Force) and the president of the United States.” The statement comes from an official court filing, which Bloomberg reports to be case 236-324551-21 in the Tarrant County District Court (Texas): “The Boeing Co. v. GDC Technics LLC.”

With Boeing’s awarding of a multi-billion dollar contract to supply the new ‘Air Force Ones’ in the form of modified 747-8s, the planemaker was due to have the jets ready for December 2024. Despite the lawsuit alleging delays amounting to “roughly one year,” a Boeing spokesperson tells Reuters that it is still possible to meet the Air Force’s delivery schedule.

Boeing Sues A Supplier For Its Air Force One 747-8 Conversion
The 747-8s are rendered here in the existing VC-25A livery. Photo: Boeing

Sources note that Boeing plans to either shift the GDC work to new suppliers or take it in-house. Boeing is currently in the modification phase for the VC-25Bs, retrofitting the jets with a medical facility, executive suite, electrical power upgrades, special communications system, and other systems.

The jets were initially ordered by now-defunct Russian carrier Transaero but not taken up by the carrier before its fall. Bloomberg adds that the planes will have two auxiliary power units rather than a standard single APU, as well as elevators to ease boarding.

Who is GDC Technics?

According to its website, GDC Technics has “multiple business line disciplines, including Engineering & Technical Services, Modifications, Electronic Systems, R&D, Government services, and MRO services.”

In relation to the Air Force One contract it has with Boeing, GDC Technics has the ability to conduct “modification and completion work for VIP/VVIP, Head-of-State, Commercial, and Military customers on a variety of aircraft ranging from upper business jets to both narrow- and wide-body aircraft.”

In fact, it’s not just American head-of-state aircraft that GDC has worked on. In October of last year, the company announced that it had delivered one of two 777-300ERs modified for a confidential “head-of-state” customer. GDC boasted exterior modifications and additional interior cabin customizations. While the company’s press release kept the country confidential, the timing lines up perfectly with India taking delivery of its first Air India One 777-300ER.

Air India One
While not officially stated, Air India One was likely modified by GDC Technics. The company had signed a letter of intent in November to pursue maintenance and modification work in India. Image: Simple Flying

More relevant to the global health crisis and the scarcity of cargo capacity, GDC Technics notes that it offers a full range of freighter conversions in conjunction with its industrial partners. Conversions are available for the following models:

  • 777-300
  • 737-800/900
  • 747-400
  • Airbus A320/321

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No comment from GDC Technics

While Simple Flying reached out to the communications representative for GDC Technics, no response was received at the time of publication. Other media sources note that the company has not responded to their respective requests either.

Meanwhile, the Air Force has re-directed all inquiries on the subject to Boeing.

Do you think the VC-25B program will be delayed? Or can Boeing make up for lost time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.