(Adds comments from Delta CEO, context)
By Mark Felsenthal
WASHINGTON, June 24 Delta Air Lines Inc
chief executive Richard Anderson said on Tuesday he opposes
reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank unless there are
changes to the way the bank finances the sale of widebody
"Without meaningful reform we are opposed to
reauthorization," he said.
Anderson, speaking at the Aero Club in Washington, also said
there could be "a path" to reauthorization if the bank takes
steps to stop giving foreign airlines what he said was an unfair
competitive advantage over U.S. carriers.
The Delta CEO's comments come as the newly elected No. 2
Republican in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy,
threw the future of the bank in doubt by saying he opposes
renewing its charter when it expires at the end of September.
Ex-Im helped finance $37.4 billion worth of U.S. exports in
2013. Scrapping the bank would be a blow to Boeing BA.N,
Caterpillar CAT.N, General Electric GE.N and other U.S.
companies that rely on Ex-Im financing to make sales in export
markets where commercial lending is scarce.
The bank is the U.S. government export credit agency and is
intended to provide loans and loan guarantees to support
While Delta has called for reforms at the bank, firms that
benefit from its export finance support have launched a lobbying
push to reauthorize the institution.
The Delta chief is due to testify on Wednesday before the
House Financial Services Committee, where Chairman Jeb
Hensarling is also an Ex-Im skeptic.
Anderson is due to tell Hensarling's panel that competition
among airlines for international passengers is skewed in favor
of carriers that are backed by their home governments, and that
Ex-Im makes matters worse.
"That fight is heavily tilted in favor of foreign airlines
receiving government subsidies, both from those airlines' home
governments, and, amazingly, from our own," Anderson said in
testimony prepared for delivery on Wednesday.
Ex-Im loan guarantees to Emirates, the airline based in
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, are equivalent to $20 million per
plane, effectively giving the carrier one free plane for every
eight new planes it buys, he said.
Anderson said reauthorization of the bank's charter could be
a vehicle for reforms.
First, he urged banning financing of widebody aircraft, such
as Boeing's 777, to airlines that are owned by foreign
governments or that are capable of obtaining credit in private
markets. Delta also wants the bank to disclose fully the details
of its widebody plane financing, including information on the
routes on which those aircraft will be deployed.
Anderson also called on the bank to conduct analyses of the
impact on the U.S. economy and air travel industry of all
widebody aircraft transactions and to allow interested parties
to comment on each transaction.
(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Bill Trott)