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Airlines

TIMELINE-Key dates in Airbus subsidy dispute

June 30 (Reuters) - The European Union and some of its member states paid prohibited export subsidies to aerospace group Airbus EAD.PA and must withdraw them, a World Trade Organization dispute panel said on Wednesday.

Here is a timeline of the long running dispute.

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.

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.

July 2006 - Airbus unveils a $10 billion revamp of its planned A350 jets and says it will seek government aid from its partner countries, France, Germany, Spain and 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 says it 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 says it will pledge 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, 2009 - 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 NOC.N, 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 - Germany confirms it is ready to provide 1.1 billion euros of funding to Airbus for the A350.

March 23 - The WTO rules that European governments have provided a “certain element of subsidy” to Airbus. Despite the ruling, future funding plans for the next model of Airbus aircraft, the A350, will not be affected, Airbus says in a comment sure to be contested by Boeing.

June 30 - A WTO dispute panel says the EU and some of its member states paid prohibited export subsidies to aerospace group Airbus and must withdraw them.

-- The WTO said the prohibited subsidies should be halted immediately and says this means 90 days; but the legal process could mean months or years before this deadline is reached.

-- The panel agrees that support for the Airbus A300, A310, A320, A330, A340, A380 airliners constitutes launch aid. The panel did not agree that support for the A350 is launch aid, as it did not examine the A350 programme, launched after the complaint was filed.

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