Airforce Turbine Service, Ltd. (ATS), of Mathis, Texas, protested the terms of request for proposals (RFP) No. AG-84M8-S-10-0003, issued by the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (FS) for aircraft engine maintenance and overhaul services.
ATS asserted that the RFP requirement that offerors be a designated overhaul facility (DOF) to qualify to compete is unduly restrictive of competition.
GAO denied the protest because the agency has broad discretion when setting its requirements. GAO went on to further state that saw no reason why the agency should not be permitted to adopt a requirement aimed at ensuring the highest level of reliability and availability of its aircraft, particular in light of the need to fulfill its fire fighting mission.
When filing a bid protest based on restrictive requirements, bidders must be aware of the wide latitude when putting out solicitations for public bids. Protestors should look to see whether it is even reasonable for the agency to place such narrow restrictions. If the answer is yes, then filing a bid protest would be futile. See the full decision.