Airbus says moving at full speed on A350 funding


Airbus says it is moving forward at “full speed” in talks with European governments over funding for the A350 jetliner and denied this was prevented by Wednesday’s trade ruling on aircraft subsidies.

“Boeing’s wishful thinking to the contrary, the A350 is untouched by the WTO’s findings. Together with the four governments, we are moving forward at full speed,” Airbus head of communications Rainer Ohler said in an e-mail. “Finalisation and timeline of an announcement are strictly in the hands of the governments; therefore we can’t comment about it,” he added.

The World Trade Organisation found on Wednesday that Airbus had received prohibited export subsidies for the A380 and ordered these to be remedied, while not specifying how this should be done. It found subsidies in other development loan payments for previous models built by the EADS subsidiary. Boeing said the ruling meant Airbus must repay $4 billion in A380 loans or restructure them and that it must abandon what it described as Airbus’ plans to use illegal subsidies for the A350.

Airbus said the WTO had not ruled that the loan system itself was at fault. Host nations France, Germany, Spain and Britain said last month they would consider WTO-compliant funding for the A350 once the trade body had ruled on the US case against aid to Airbus as well as a counter-claim against aid to Boeing.