US helps Boeing–and Europe helps Airbus. So what?

Notice: All right, Everyone, given the persistent personal stuff in the Comments, we have closed Comments for this posting.


Wikileaks struck again with cables revealing US diplomats and the President support Boeing is sales efforts. The cables made a lot of news headlines, with The Seattle Times pickup of a New York Times piece typical.

Our reaction is, So what?

That diplomats help Boeing and European officials help Airbus is nothing new nor surprising to those of us in aviation. Heads-of-State do it, too. It happened for McDonnell Douglas, with a sale for MD-11s and MD-90s to Saudi Arabia. Happened with Israel and Boeing. Landing slots for Airbus sales? No surprise here, either.

Much ado about nothing, in our view.

31 Comments on “US helps Boeing–and Europe helps Airbus. So what?

  1. Agreed. This is only a story to someone who doesn’t know how the big Aero biz works. For a primer, I’d recommend Boeing vs. Airbus by John Newhouse

  2. Most of us are aware that it is a common practice. It is America’s holier than thou attitude that is so objectionable. They might fool a lot of their constituents, but not the world.

    • Your comments sound condescending, and frankly, “holier then thou”. I suggest you take your anti-American comments elsewhere…

      • Joanne,
        you rather proof flier’s comment?

        It looks like Boeing rather often
        went to “Mama” if they had to stand
        down on technical competitiveness

      • Perhaps Flier’s comment is condescending and perhaps it could have been phrased somewhat more diplomatically. It could even be that Flier did not intend to paint all of the USA with the same brush.
        On the other hand, there are many people out there who agree with this stance, if not to the same degree.
        By the way, are you in some way affiliated with Scott Hamilton or Leeham in some way?

      • What’s condescending about the post your replied to? You sound like one of those children who when they’re being scolded puts their fingers to their ears and scream. The US has taken a “we’re doing nothing wrong, it’s only the guys from the other side” attitude and it has been very evident in the WTO case, would have been nice if you’d actually disproved the part of his post that you disagreed with rather than just going into auto-victim mode.

      • Hi Scott,

        As Uwe has already pointed out, my question was posed at Joanne. By posing the question, I was hoping to make a point. I already know that she isn’t affiliated with you.

        Sorry for the confusion.

    • It’s not my pot that’s black I tell you – It’s your kettle. Truly!


    • It looks like a great start to the new year!
      Nothing boring going on here.

      Can’t wait for more Tanker or WTO comments to really get those hackles raised. The more controversial, so much the better!

      And Fleetbuzz is back up with it’s standard vitriol.

      The only thing they seem to hate worse than Airbus is anything that is not Boeing or Airbus.

  3. It will be interesting to see the reactions of politicians from both sides of the atlantic to this story.
    It could be quite telling.

    Or perhaps quite boring.

    I wonder of Wikileaks will ever get any sort of equally interesting documents from any of the EC governments.

  4. leehamnet :
    Flier is not affiliated with us. Why do you ask?

    This was an answer to our servicebride Joanne.

  5. Joanne :Your comments sound condescending, and frankly, “holier then thou”. I suggest you take your anti-American comments elsewhere…

    Sorry, to have stepped on your dainty toes, but it seems Yanks have yet to learn that life on this globe is not a Tinseltown movie? As to being anti American, only when it is necessary and that alas, is quite often. Enjoy your day

    • OK, Everybody, let’s tone down the rhetoric and emotions a bit and return to a dispassionate approach to the issues at hand.

  6. Having EU cables to coroborate isn’t all that necessary.
    The US messages would reflect inverted operations in the same way.

    All depends on patterns.

    How often do we find
    $AirframerX being preferred to $AirframerY in initial
    (merit based) procurement decission while
    after heavy lean in of $GovernementY the sale fell
    to $AirframerY, maybe interrupted by (unsuccessfull) remedial
    interference from $GovernmentX.

    There will be more cables published that will give a wider
    statistical base to form an opinion.

    Independent of further info the notion that the US is in
    any way the champion of Fair Trade has been further deflated.

    Additionally the apparent continuing “competitiveness” of the
    737 family presents itself in a rather different light.

    Finally: What does one have to think about a potential tanker
    deal going to Airbus in an environment of a fiercely pro Boeing
    intervening administration? Just another domain or something
    more sinister?

    • If your precious little KC-330 loses, it’s all sinister, isn’t it? Never mind the RfP… It was written for Boeing, wasn’t it? Oh maybe it was written by Boeing…

      • “It was written for Boeing, wasn’t it? Oh maybe it was written by Boeing…”

        In the very first attempt, 7 or 8 years ago, both of those comments were true.

  7. I would have like to have point out that both Germany’s Merkel and France’s Sarkozy have actively campaigned on behalf of EADS/Airbus for many years now. Sarkozy even took the brazen step of warning the current President of the United States about, guess what, KC-X! I am convinced that the VX helicopter program was “won” by the EH-101 because of extreme pressure from our British and Italian allies on the Bush Administration (Remember, both countries were supporters of the Iraq War, while most of “Old Europe” actively opposed us). No mention about those facts in this current discussion, is there?

    Oh and Flier, it would take more then your silly words on this blog to “step on my dainty little toes”. I wear heels, nice ones actually, but guys like you have learned the hard way, I’m not intimidated, especially in a Boys-Only discussion like this about and industry heavily dominated by the same. Don’t pat yourself on the back too much. You might knock yourself over, when I walk past…

    Uve, having worked for a major German airline for almost 30 years now, your constant degrading of a woman’s opinion doesn’t surprise me. Its cultural to a certain extent. And you just constantly remind us of your poster-boy of that cultural phenomenon, reinforce that perception.

    BTW Uve, I’m Austrian by birth, American, by choice.

    Quick, go get the German to American dictionary for your witty response!! 🙂

    • If we follow the timeline US political forces had kicked up quite a dustcloud
      before any reminder from Little Napoleon came to maybe stay with the
      preset rules.

      The “Alliance of the Willing” was in fact an “Alliance of the Bought”, the US under BushII had handed out quite a lot of goodies for these allies.
      If you haven’t followed the press at the time there are hints to be found
      in abundance in archives (and the repository of published cables I guess).

      The VX helo is interesting as blowing that project out of all functional and
      cost proportions is a completely native effort. ( independent of any
      choosen base airframe ).

      I guess I can pass the dictionary unread:
      You have adapted quite well to the US 😉

      • Oh Uve, only you could find any evidence of malice on the part of the American government in any of those Wiki-wonka “leaks”. How much are you sending them to hide their websites per week?

      • And yes I have cheerfully and gratefull adapted very well. i even had the honor of receiving my American citizenship five years ago. I’ve been here since the age of three, but my mother still sent me to High German classes at the age of seven. It serves me well as I deal with your compatriots on a daily basis. Yes I do speak fluent German, with a Bavarian accent, I’m told.

      • my kettle isn’t black, it’s your pot
        it is, it is, it is…

        seriously – any government that doesn’t do it’s best to support it’s national interests is culpable.

    • If you actually grew up speaking german, one would suppose you could spell Uwe’s name correctly.

      Or is that your way of being…..cute?

      As for him and his supposed sexist attitude towards your opinion, how is it any different than his attitude towards Don S, Aurora or KC135 TopBoom, amongst others?

  8. Sigh.

    OK, Everyone, let us try one more time. All this Euro-American-Euro bashing may be as entertaining as hell for some, and the sexist remarks may be cultural for the Europeans and politically incorrect for the Americans, but for this blog, these comments really don’t fit what we want to see. We really would like everyone to stick to the issues of what governments do to support Airbus and Boeing.

    We don’t have the time nor the inclination to monitor comments to deal with every little nuance of this or that or one thing or another. Commentors have been good about avoiding obscenities and highly personal attacks, and we appreciate following these rules. We recognize the patriotic pride exhibited by Europeans and Americans alike, but this thread has gotten off track more than usual. Let’s try once more to get back to the issues at hand, and that is what the governments do to support Airbus and Boeing. Cite examples (if you have them), talk policy, but let’s stop the bickering that is, in our view, skirting the fine edge we set on the personalities.

  9. I’ll try… This is interesting only in so far as it shows the rather less edifying detail of how these support operations work, and that may help those labouring under the illusion that the diplomatic service is a great career choice to come to a more realistic appreciation.

    That this is going on (on both sides) is clear to anyone who is willing to look without blinders. What is also clear is that the losers in the contest like to whinge just like toddlers claiming that they didn’t do anything wrong, it was the other guy. And self-righteousness is not restricted to one side of the pond (although one may think that it is restricted to Germans and Austrians… says the German).

    But so what. It’s another underwhelming piece of non-news of the mountain of underwhelmingness that is the Wikileaks affair. Dogs bark, the caravan moves on. Next item on the news, ‘Night follows day’.

    • “It’s another underwhelming piece of non-news of the mountain of underwhelmingness that is the Wikileaks affair.”
      Quite an interesting topic, this Wikileaks. For something that some would classify as releasing “non-news” or “so what” items, it seems to have aroused the sleeping beasts that are the governments of the world.

      Unfortunately all of these revelations seem to have done nothing to change the behaviour of said governments. As an example, one only needs to look at the way they have all attempted to “muzzle” or discredit the australian who runs Wikileaks.

      • Not to mention the passion and emotions it has raised in this forum alone.
        Although many of the comments are, at best, by-products of the issue at hand.

  10. I am curious as to how people justify the actions of governments.

    Those who crow on about the WTO decision against the EU over aircraft financing at every opportunity, seem to be eerily quiet about past judgements against the US, not to mention the current, preliminary finding against the US. For such people, one might believe that such judgements do not exist, or were somehow unfairly rendered.

    Then there is this whole “so what” (or “whatever”, which has now replaced “so what” in current use) attitude towards the revelation that the US Government is blatantly flouting a 30 year old trade agreement.

    Why should this be a non-issue?

    Another curious item is Boeing’s attitude, which is revealed through its spokesman, Tim Neale, who stated, “The way I look at it, it levels the playing field.”

    So there was really no need to launch the WTO case back in 2004, was there? According to Boeing, the playing field was already level!

    Hence the WTO case, logically, would tilt the field in Boeing’s favour.

    Therefore the EU and Airbus must come up with some way to, once again, level the playing field.

    I wonder what they will do.

  11. I see this through the lens of Realpolitik. I work in something semi-diplomatic, I know how these things work, and it is a total non-issue in terms of findings to me, overhyped by the media. What worries me is what the ineptness of the US foreign service will do to the efficiency and effectiveness of international diplomacy, and to the outcome of some specific issues (such as North Korea). I don’t give a fig for Assange, he is just a convenient lightning rod in this matter, and the assault on him is following the tried and tested ‘let’s shoot the messenger’ method.

    So what indeed (showing my age here).

  12. Aero Ninja :
    If you actually grew up speaking german, one would suppose you could spell Uwe’s name correctly.
    Or is that your way of being…..cute?
    As for him and his supposed sexist attitude towards your opinion, how is it any different than his attitude towards Don S, Aurora or KC135 TopBoom, amongst others?

    I am cute Aero. Unlike you, I’m human and occasionally make mistakes. Sorry about the typo Uwe.

    I’m not going to defend those you mentioned. They’re big boys and can take care of themselves. You on the other hand, are rather condescending. Did you just decide to ignore Scott’s plea to stop with the personal stuff?