(Adds comment by Delta CEO, background on dispute)
By Alana Wise
Sept 27 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc’s chief executive on Wednesday characterized as “bizarre” the claim by Boeing Co that rival planemaker Bombardier Inc is doing business unfairly and said he does not expect the U.S. government to impose stiff duties on the Canadian jets.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday slapped preliminary anti-subsidy duties on Bombardier CSeries jets after Boeing accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing the aircraft, a move likely to strain trade relations between the neighbors.
The CEO of Delta, which ordered 75 CSeries jets in April 2016, made the statement at the Skift Global Forum in New York.
The preliminary duty of 220 percent is subject to a final ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2018.
“How this is somehow a U.S. trade dispute is bizarre,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, adding that Boeing’s claims were the “ultimate hypocrisy” given the company’s supply deals with Gulf carriers.
Boeing said that the duties were decided by “independent third parties” through a “transparent, fact-based investigation.” The world’s biggest plane maker also said that the decision confirmed that Bombardier received “massive illegal subsidies” that allowed it to sell the CSeries in the United States at prices below cost.
Bastian did not say whether the high duties would affect Delta’s decision to go through with its order of planes, but added, “We do not think there will be a 220 percent tariff when it’s all said and done.” (Reporting by Alana Wise in New York, Alwyn Scott in Seattle and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Matthew Lewis)