United States plane manufacturer Boeing has criticised a German government decision to offer rival Airbus a £1 billion loan.
Peter Hintze, parliamentary state secretary at the German ministry of economics, confirmed earlier this week his government was preparing to make the loan to assist in the development of the Airbus A350, a competitor to Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner.
However, the decision has drawn furious criticism from Boeing vice president, executive, legislative and regulatory affairs Ted Austell, who branded the decision “unfortunate and disappointing”.
Boeing issued the statement ahead of an anticipated WTO decision in the US case against European government subsidies to Airbus.
“We look forward to the WTO’s final decision,” explained Mr Austell.
“After years of charges and counter-charges, an independent panel that has worked tirelessly to understand all of the facts in this dispute will render its final judgment.
“It is an important decision that not only affects the hundreds of thousands of US aerospace workers who’ve had to compete with an illegally subsidised Airbus, but one that will set an important precedent for the broader, global aerospace industry.”
The WTO is expected to detail its decision to stakeholders later today. However, any decision is unlikely to be made public.
Officials in the Unite States have long argued Airbus is no longer a start-up, but a major industry player. As such, it is now ineligible for state assistance.
“On the eve of such an important decision, it is unfortunate and disappointing to see news reports quoting a senior German official saying that Germany is prepared to provide €1.1 billion for the development of the Airbus A350 – a move that flies in the face of both the expected WTO decision and the rules-based global trading system we’ve all endorsed,” continued Mr Austell.
“Illegal European subsidies have done great harm to the US aerospace industry.
“It’s time to level the playing field and let companies compete on product, price, innovation, and customer support without market-distorting government subsidies,” he added.
Airbus has developed the A350 range in direct competition with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, claiming the aircraft is more fuel efficient than its rival and will offer carriers with a “new-generation aircraft” that is “best suited to the market’s requirements”.
The European manufacturer has so far seen more than 500 firm orders from 33 customers.