ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Boeing Co. said on Monday it was in talks with the United Arab Emirates about the possible sale of Boeing 767 military refuelling planes, the same tankers involved in a scuppered 100-plane deal with the U.S. Air Force.
"We're in the middle stage of talks. They are interested in two to three tankers," James O'Neill, Boeing's vice president for tanker programmes told Reuters at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi.
"If you're doing persistent border control and your aircraft are up for a long time, they can refuel in the air instead of landing. This will increase operational effectiveness," he said.
The planemaker has orders for 767 refuelling planes from Italy and Japan but Britain and Australia have both declined to go with 767-based tankers.
Sales are important for sustaining production of the aircraft as demand from airlines has waned with the onset of other, newer models.
By far its biggest potential buyer is the U.S. Air Force, but a deal involving 100 of the planes collapsed last year in a conflict-of-interest scandal in which the Air Force's No. 2 weapons buyer was jailed and Boeing's former chief financial officer fired.
The U.S. Air Force is expected to reopen a tender for tankers this year with Boeing pitted against European rival Airbus.
I think they can get a good deal..