In 1914, William Boeing said simply, "I think we can build a better plane. " And in that spirit, the Boeing Company was born...

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In 1914, William Boeing said simply, “I think we can build a better plane.” And in that spirit, the Boeing Company was born and is growing stronger every day as it continues to strive to always build a better plane.

Clearly, the drive to always build a better plane is working. That spirit and drive are the reasons that Boeing is the No. 1 leader in the commercial market of the aerospace industry.

The ambition to always build a better plane is also why the Air Force should entrust Boeing to build our next fleet of aircraft tankers.

The Air Force is considering proposals to replace its worn and aged KC-135 tanker refueling fleet, critical to long-range flight missions. The contract could be as much as $40 billion over the next 15 years.

We truly want the home team to win this one. A win for Boeing in the tanker competition would sustain the 767 line’s record of success. After more than 1,000 orders, customers are still signing up for new 767 variants, a testament to Boeing’s manufacturing experience.

Compared head to head, Boeing’s offering is more efficient and a better fit on military bases worldwide than the competition, a joint venture between Airbus and Northrop Grumman.

The contract would generate approximately 9,000 direct and indirect jobs within the area, with the local economic impact from the KC-767 estimated at a staggering $400 million.

A Boeing contract award would generate an estimated 44,000 U.S. jobs to support the tanker program. That’s almost twice the jobs that would be created by Airbus and Northrop Grumman, should they win. Their plane, the KC-30, would be based on the Airbus A330 and built in Europe, with finishing work done in Alabama.

The Air Force should recognize Boeing as the natural choice to build the next generation of tankers. Boeing has a proud history with U.S. military forces. And Boeing’s relationship with the Air Force is not new. An Air Force commanding general said in 1947, “To an airman, the Pacific Northwest is the home of the long-range heavy bomber, which has changed the character of war and the meaning of peace.”

Boeing’s strong record of excellence continues in today’s military as well. In the next 24 hours, 6,000 Boeing military aircraft will be on guard with the defense forces of 23 countries and with every branch of the U.S. military.

Boeing’s proposal is to build the KC-767 tanker replacement fleet in Everett with specifications that meet the Air Force’s requirements and needs. Versions of Boeing’s tanker have already been sold around the world and have more than1,000 hours of flight testing.

In contrast, Airbus’s KC-30 has never flown outside of computer simulations.

The smart choice for the Air Force would be to go with the company with the proven record of success. The Air Force should think of the very spirit in which Boeing was created and know that Boeing does indeed build the better plane.

Aaron Reardon is Snohomish County executive.