Second Blow Dealt to Airbus in Midst of Refueling Tanker Controversy

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In a recent blog post, I described the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that airline manufacturer Airbus benefitted unfairly from European Union subsidies. More recent news has broken, as the WTO has decided to delay its decision on a similar case examining whether Airbus competitor Boeing also benefitted from similar subsidies. Taken together, this week’s pair of WTO moves signifies a double-blow to Airbus as it continues to lobby for the $35billion Defense Department contract to supply aerial refueling tankers.

The WTO’s delay on the Boeing decision further stirs up the long-term outlook for the global commercial airline industry. Both Airbus and the EU are calling foul, questioning the WTO’s ability to remain a fair arbiter of global trade affairs. Yet interestingly, Boeing and Airbus still agree on at least one issue; according to the Wall Street Journal, officials from both companies agree that it is in their mutual interest to

negotiate new global rules governing subsidies that would lock in funding from the EU and U.S. while limiting what Brazil, China and other relative upstarts in the industry can spend on developing competing passenger jets.

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