McConnell, Altus AFB and Pease ANG Base selected for new KC-46A tanker roles

Fairchild loses bid to host new tankers – Spokesman.com – May 22, 2013.

Fairchild lost out to McConnell AFB in Kansas, Altus AFB in Oklahoma, and Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire (in 2018) according to the Kansas news reports. Three of the four bases were selected for tankers and/or training facilities, with Spokane’s Fairchild and North Dakota’s AFB as the only bases receiving no part of the KC-46A program at this time.

Update: US Air Force press release. Says McConnell had the lowest construction costs for deploying the new tankers. And also the best geographic location for the mission.

(Pease AFB was closed in 1991 and now houses an air guard refueling unit. After the USAF closed there, the State proposed building a casino on the site.)

Depending on future funding, additional tanker bases, including Fairchild AFB, could be selected in the years to come.

The proposed Airway Heights casino is not mentioned in any of the news reports as having anything to do with site selection (USAF will explain their decision later).  Is the casino a factor? Consider that the Las Vegas McCarran Field airport is the 8th busiest airport in the world in terms of take offs and landings and sits immediately adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip, the largest concentration of casinos in the world.  That did not stop Las Vegas from expanding either the airport or casinos.

Per the next post below, Spokane area aviation has been in a descent since its peak year of 1993.

1993 is also the year that Rich Hadley was hired as CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce, which later merged with the local economic development agency and became Greater Spokane, Inc.

In the early 1990s, the city was concerned about losing retail business in the downtown core, businesses moving out of the area, and there were fears about the possible closure of Fairchild AFB.  Nothing’s changed in 20 years. Except that aviation operations have plummeted and wages have fallen further behind over time (see how average wages lag the state and nation and see this chart of average wages).

Surely it is purely coincidental, but the aviation numbers have been in decline ever since Hadley was hired. With this spectacular flame out, perhaps it is time for Hadley to retire and for the agency to seek new blood with a 21st century mindset with fresh, new ideas, and not just more of the same that has not worked out so well. (Well said).

Looks like Fairchild AFB will not be “encroached” by KC-46As!

And what ever happened to the 737MAX Assembly plant “formal bid” that was to be in Spokane?

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One Response to McConnell, Altus AFB and Pease ANG Base selected for new KC-46A tanker roles

  1. Ari K says:

    Been reading your blog for years. Would love to pick your brain about how you pull/analyze the data you use for my own analysis…can you contact me?

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