EADS could decide within the next two to three weeks whether it will bid for a contract to build aerial tankers for the U.S. Air Force, the head of the company's Airbus unit told a German newspaper.

We can say that the decision on whether we will bid will likely be made within the next two to three weeks, Thomas Enders, chief executive of EADS's Airbus aircraft division, was quoted as saying by Financial Times Deutschland on Monday.

The Pentagon has asked us to examine whether we want to make a bid, this time in a prime contractor role, Enders added.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it remains in active talks with EADS on extending the May 10 deadline for aerial tanker bids, while Boeing Co supporters in Congress seized on a WTO ruling to reject any deal with the parent of Airbus as reckless.

Northrop Grumman Corp and EADS beat out Boeing to win the last competition just over two years ago, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the projected $35 billion deal after government auditors upheld a Boeing protest.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz)