Airbus calls for talks after WTO ruling
Airbus said on 2 October that it took note of the recent decision by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regarding the level of countermeasures it authorises the United States to impose on products from the European Union (EU). “If the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chooses to impose tariffs on the importation of aircraft and/or aircraft components, this will create insecurity and disruption not only to the aerospace industry, but also to the broader global economy,” Airbus said in a statement after the ruling.
The WTO said the US can move ahead with plans to impose US$7.5 billion on European goods after it found that the region had for years made loans and provided “illegal subsidies” to Airbus. While the move might appear to be good news for Boeing, the main competitor to Airbus, the WTO will likely rule soon on the Europe’s request to levy tariffs on the US over its aid to Boeing. In its ruling, the WTO says the U.S. can retaliate by suspending tariff concessions and other elements of trade agreements with Europe.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said after the ruling that “Airbus will continue working with its US partners, customers and suppliers, to address all potential consequences of such tariffs that would be a barrier against free trade and would have a negative impact on not only the US airlines but also US jobs, suppliers, and air travellers. Airbus is therefore hopeful that the US and the EU will agree to find a negotiated solution before creating serious damage to the aviation industry as well as to trade relations and the global economy.”
The WTO has already found that the US failed to address illegal subsidies causing harm to Airbus. This will provide the EU with grounds to claim countermeasures on US products at a level that could exceed US sanctions.
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Airbus said that if tariffs are applied on both sides, it will severely impact US and EU industries, putting high costs on the acquisition of new aircraft for both US and EU airlines. “Aviation is a global industry. Evidence of that is the fact that close to 40 percent of Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement comes from US aerospace suppliers. This US supply chain supports 275,000 American jobs in 40 states through spending that has totalled US$50 billion in the last three years alone. If tariffs are applied, the entire global industry will be harmed.”
Airbus Helicopters and EASA combine efforts on VTOL platforms to life: Airbus Helicopters and EASA have signed a memorandum of cooperation to harness their respective experience and know-how to bring the next generation of VTOL platforms to life, along with the necessary regulatory framework to support them. “I am very pleased to be joining efforts with EASA to build a common framework for the next generation of vertical lift solutions over the next decades,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “Innovation that benefits customers is at the heart of Airbus Helicopters’ strategy. We are committed to working hand in hand with the authorities on our innovation projects with the same professional approach that drives the design and certification of our current product range.”
The areas of cooperation covered by this agreement include high-speed flight with the Racer demonstrator, the certification of new piloting assistance systems such as Airbus Helicopters’ EAGLE technology, the thermal/electrical hybridisation of rotorcraft, including electric vertical take-off and landing systems (eVTOLs), and condition-based maintenance.
“Partnerships with industry are part of our strategy to ensure that innovation in the aviation market happens safely,” said Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA. “The knowledge we gain from cutting edge technology plays a significant role in helping us to prepare our certification methodologies for these new advancements. Cooperating on innovation with Airbus Helicopters represents an important contribution to this strategy.”