Money News

TIMELINE - Key dates in Airbus-Boeing subsidy dispute

Reuters - The World Trade Organisation will deliver a final ruling on Tuesday on whether Airbus benefited from illegal European subsidies to develop jetliners in competition with Boeing.

An Airbus A380 takes off for a flying display at the 47th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 21, 2007. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The confidential ruling is expected to be followed in the next three months by an interim WTO decision in a counter-suit brought by the EU over alleged U.S. support for Boeing aircraft.

Here is a timeline of the dispute between Airbus and Boeing.

Oct. 2004 - Washington files a case challenging European loans to help Airbus develop aircraft and terminates a 1992 civil aircraft agreement covering government support for the two top aircraft manufacturers.

-- The EU files a counter-complaint against U.S. support for Boeing.

Dec. 2004 - Airbus wins shareholder approval to start seeking orders for a fuel-saving, wide-body jet to be called the A350, unleashing a fresh marketing battle against Boeing.

-- Airbus says it is entitled to apply for a third of the A350 development cost under a 1992 European Union-United States trade deal, but Boeing maintains that deal is dead.

March 2005 - The U.S. and Europe trade accusations in an escalation of the row over subsidies for aircraft rivals.

-- Washington wants Europe to stop providing “launch aid” loans to Airbus, worth some $15 billion since 1967. Brussels argues Boeing benefits from its own form of aid, such as Washington state tax breaks and federal government contracts.

May 2005 - The U.S. reactivates its WTO case against European subsidies for Airbus after fresh efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with Brussels fail. The EU says the next day it will reactivate its legal case against U.S. support for aircraft maker Boeing in a tit-for-tat riposte.

July 2005 - The WTO launches twin probes into state aid for Boeing and Airbus in what is billed as the biggest trade dogfight ever, but both Washington and Brussels reaffirm they are still ready to negotiate a deal.

Aug. 2005 - The U.S. administration urges Britain not to pledge government support to Airbus.

Sept. 2005 - Airbus Chief Executive Gustav Humbert says he is confident European governments would lend the planemaker almost 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to develop its A350.

July 2006 - Airbus unveils a $10 billion revamp of its planned A350 jets and says it would seek government aid from its partner countries, France, Germany, Spain and the Britain.

June 15, 2009 - Airbus takes a step closer to winning government loans as France, Germany, Britain and Spain say they aim to decide by the end of June how much money they are prepared to put up to help the A350 project.

-- Germany is prepared to provide 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) and France would contribute 1.4 billion.

-- Boeing says government financing would violate WTO rules.

Aug. 14, 2009 - Britain pledges 340 million pounds ($510 million) in loans.

Aug 27, 2009 - Boeing says it hopes the preliminary WTO panel ruling will force European governments to reconsider plans to help finance Airbus A350 jet.

Sept. 4, 2010 - WTO panel issues interim ruling in U.S. case against Airbus to the parties. Various sources say the panel found EU aid amounted to unfair subsidies and in some cases violated a tougher ban on export subsidies, but rejected some U.S. complaints.

March 8, 2010 - Northrop Grumman, which was bidding for a $50 billion U.S. refuelling aircraft contract with EADS, withdraws from the tanker contest leaving the field open to Boeing, and prompting complaints of U.S. protectionism by EU leaders.

March 22, 2010 - Germany confirms it is ready to provide 1.1 billion euros of funding to Airbus for the A350