Boeing trade complaint won't slow CSeries deliveries: Delta CEO

FILE PHOTO - Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines at the 2016 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Dublin, Ireland June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

MONTREAL/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines DAL.N will not delay its 2018 deliveries of CSeries planes from Canada's Bombardier Inc BBDb.TO, the carrier's chief executive said on Thursday, following an anti-dumping complaint by Boeing Co BA.N against the jets.

“We do not intend to slow down any of the deliveries we have for the CSeries,” CEO Ed Bastian told analysts after the carrier reported a 21 percent drop in second-quarter profit.. “We will take the first delivery this coming spring,” he added.

Delta is the largest customer for the CSeries.

The case has fueled trade tensions between the United States and its northern neighbor, with Canada calling on Boeing to abandon the anti-dumping challenge and threatening to scrap plans to buy the company’s fighter jets as an interim purchase in the renewal of its fleet.

Boeing wants the U.S. government to investigate the 2016 sale of 75 CSeries aircraft to Delta for what it said was the “absurdly low” sum of $19.6 million each, despite the jet costing $33 million to build..

A U.S. International Trade Commission probe could lead to steep duties on the fuel-efficient narrow-body planes, analysts say.

Bombardier has dismissed Boeing’s $19.6 million figure as “absurd.” The Montreal-based plane-and-train-maker says Boeing does not make aircraft that compete with the 110-seat CS100 jets it sold to Delta, arguing that Boeing’s smallest 737 model, the 130-seat 737 MAX 7, is too large.

Boeing has argued that the CSeries program would not exist without hundreds of millions of dollars in launch aid from the governments of Canada, Quebec and Britain, or a $2.5 billion equity infusion from Quebec and its largest pension fund in 2015.

Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal and Alana Wise in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay