Officials from the United States government have lobbied in support of aviation manufacturer Boeing, diplomatic cables have revealed.
While a long-standing gentlemen’s agreement states government leaders refrain from such practices, cables released to the New York Times by the WikiLeaks website reveal deals are widespread.
In 2006 George Bush is documented to have requested Saudi King Abdullah purchase 43 Boeing jets for Saudi Arabian Airlines and another 13 for the royal fleet.
The Saudi monarch responded favourably, requesting his personal aircraft meet the specifications of Air Force One.
Once this was assured, President Bush received assurances “God willing,” he will make a decision that will, “please you very much” the cables revealed.
In November 2010 Saudi Arabian Airlines ordered 12 new Boeing 777-300ER jets worth some $3.3 billion in a deal seen as vital to American growth.
However, such diplomatic wrangling is not always successful.
Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina is recorded by WikiLeaks as demanding landing rights for its national carrier at New York JFK International Airport as a condition for a Boeing deal.
“If there is no New York route, what is the point of buying Boeing,” read a November 2009 cable.
However, while the deal has since been finalised, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has not been given the landing rights.
American officials have defended the practice, despite widespread perceptions of a ban.
“That is the reality of the 21st century; governments are playing a greater role in supporting their companies, and we need to do the same thing,” Robert Hormats, under secretary of state for economic affairs, told the Times.