PARIS (Reuters) - Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner said at the Paris air show on Tuesday that any government loans for a revamped version of Airbus’ (AIR.PA) A380 superjumbo would go against recent World Trade Organization rulings.
Asked about reports that Airbus would apply for European government loans for the A380neo’s development, Conner said: “Whether they go forward with that, we will address as it comes along. That would not be in line with what the WTO has said.”
European government loans for the A380 are a key element of a long-running trade dispute over mutual accusations of aircraft subsidies between the United States and European Union.
Both sides have won partial victories in the long-running dispute, which is now evolving into a row over whether each side has complied with WTO rulings.
As first reported by Reuters, Airbus is expected to look at whether to seek new loans for a possible upgrade of the A380 designed to boost sales of the world’s largest passenger jet.
Airbus has said it is too early to address such loans, which cover a third of development. But European trade sources told Reuters in April there had already been informal soundings.
Britain’s Rolls-Royce (RR.L) may also apply for government loans for the engine it is expected to develop, but would need approval from the EU competition authorities, the sources said.
Airbus has accused Boeing of benefiting from about $8 billion in unfair tax breaks connected with the development of its new 777X jetliner. Conner defended the tax breaks, saying they applied to the whole aerospace industry and were not subsidies for Boeing.
Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by James Regan