EUROPE & CIS: US, European carriers begin anti-subsidy lobby

US and European taxpayers are subsidising foreign airlines to the tune of billions of dollars by helping them buy Airbus and Boeing jets with loans denied to domestic carriers, airline lobbyists say. The claim marked the start of a concerted lobbying campaign by airlines on both sides of the Atlantic challenging the rules for government […]


US and European taxpayers are subsidising foreign airlines to the tune of billions of dollars by helping them buy Airbus and Boeing jets with loans denied to domestic carriers, airline lobbyists say. The claim marked the start of a concerted lobbying campaign by airlines on both sides of the Atlantic challenging the rules for government export measures which have smoothed the way for the sales of aircraft to high-growth markets in Asia and the Gulf, reported Reuters. The airline complaint stems from an agreement which allows the home governments of US manufacturer Boeing and Europe’s Airbus – France, Germany, Spain and the UK – to give export financing to some, but not all carriers. World trade officials say export credits, effectively discounted loans, do not necessarily contravene trade rules. But an informal agreement between the five countries involved means the export credits cannot be offered to airlines based in any of the five countries where Boeing and EADS subsidiary Airbus are based. That means an airline in an Airbus home nation, such as British Airways, would not qualify for US credits when buying a Boeing in the same way that a US airline buying an Airbus would not secure European export credits, the Association of European Airlines said. “There is a situation here whereby European taxpayers are funding the sale of planes to our global competitors who are getting conditions that we can’t get,” said the association’s spokesman David Henderson. Some 20 airlines, including some of the world’s largest, were due to sign a letter to governments calling for a more rational export funding system, executives said. “Why should the sale of an aircraft be that much different from the sale of other goods?,” said Marc Verspyck, finance director of Air France, part of Franco-Dutch Air France-KLM.