Fresh Off Illegal Subsidies Ruling, Airbus Seeks Govt. Funds
Following close on the heels of a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that, according to one insider, labeled as "illegal subsidies" certain government-supplied, financial launch aids for new Airbus designs, Airbus is again seeking government cash to bring its next-generation designs to market. To compete with stirrings in China (which expects to bring its new C919 jumbo jet to market before 2020), Airbus wants to produce by 2015 its own more efficient, less noisy aircraft. Rough targets for the new aircraft are set at half the noise and half the emissions. Reuters reported last week that the manufacturer may be considering open rotor engine technology, mounting the engines aft and perhaps using tail surfaces to help with noise attenuation. To do that, or something like it, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier last week told Le Figaro newspaper the company needs $1.2 billion over six years and he encouraged the French government to invest. But even if the company does receive government funding, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be bypassing a WTO ruling -- thanks to complications from Boeing.
By the time the WTO is done, it may have found that both Airbus and Boeing (which initially brought the case against Airbus) are guilty of winning "illegal" financial aid from supporting governments. In that case, one potential outcome would see the companies arrive at collectively determined acceptable parameters for such support.