Dec. 21, 2014
Qatar gets first A350-900: Unless U-Turn Al U-Turns again, Qatar Airways
will take delivery of the world’s first Airbus A350-900 on Dec. 22. Reuters has a retrospective of the airplane’s development.
WTO Airbus-Boeing fight, continued: It never ends. As we reported Friday, the European Union filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Washington State tax breaks extended to Boeing for the 777X. Long-time readers of this column know how we feel about the WTO generally and the trade dispute between Europe (Airbus) and the US (Boeing) specifically. We consider it all a waste of time and money.
Now that the EU has officially complained about the 777X tax breaks, we fully expect the US Trade Representative to officially file a counter-action against allegations Airbus is receiving illegal subsidies for the A350. During the height of the previous complaints, USTR and Boeing complained about launch aid provided for the A350. The EU said this aid complied with the findings and compliance requirements of the previous dispute. The USTR tried to wrap the A350 aid into the then-ongoing complaint, which was rejected by the WTO for procedural reasons.
Boeing’s statement Friday about the EU’s latest action cited the WTO’s rejection of including the 777X into the current appeals of the previous actions, suggesting this made the new complaint without merit. This is sophistry. Whether the 777X complaint has merit or not (we think it does), the inclusion was rejected for similar procedural reasons as the USTR effort to include the A350 issue: a new action was needed.
As we wrote at the time (and which is linked in Friday’s post), Boeing’s acceptance of tax breaks for the 777X is hypocrisy given its long-held position against Airbus tax breaks as outlined in the WTO complaint. The 777X tax breaks are extensions of the 787 tax breaks found by the WTO to be illegal.
Boeing has no basis on which to complain about the EU complaint. But it will, because this is how the game is played. And so look for a USTR action on the A350 launch aid.
A380, continued: The fascination over whether Airbus will proceed with a re-engining of the A380, and what engine will power a neo, continues. A suggestion that Engine Alliance could be a contender for the A380neo seem farfetched. Aviation Week’s Guy Norris has this analysis. In it, he notes that Pratt & Whitney and GE each doubt the business case for an A380neo. PW also told us when we were at its media day in May there was no business case. It’s also clear PW won’t go it alone with a big GTF: the CEO of parent United Technologies ruled out a big GTF two weeks into his tenure. Aviation Week previously reported Rolls-Royce and Airbus are close to an agreement to power the A380neo. We agree that RR will wind up with the business.
767-2C first flight: This is expected between Christmas and New Year’s. This has been widely viewed as a major milestone in the development of the Boeing KC-46A USAF aerial tanker, and it is important, but Boeing is downplaying it. There won’t be a a media event surrounding the flight. This will be saved for the first flight of an equipped tanker next year.
A320neo GTF engine certified: The US Federal Aviation Administration certified the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan that will power the Airbus A320neo family last week.
Our Holiday schedule: We’ll be around and posting on a reduced schedule now through January 4. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.