Analysis: bullying firm shows Trump’s ‘America first’ policy in action
If the Bombardier affair wasn’t so serious for workers in Northern Ireland and Canada, Boeing’s hypocrisy would be a bad joke.
Boeing is a $150bn titan whose business is underpinned by a cosy relationship with the US Department of Defense and a near-duopoly with Airbus in the market for large commercial aircraft. It is grumbling about state aid for a firm a fraction of its size. It is behaving like a bully.
As Delta Air Lines, the US customer at the centre of the dispute, has argued, Boeing these days doesn’t make commercial aircraft as small as the 100-seaters it wants. In theory, an invigorated Bombardier, if it was able to extend its C-series planes, might mount a challenge to the US firm’s 737s one day. But that prospect is distant.
Boeing’s motivation in pursuing this case is probably twofold. First, causing serious financial damage to Bombardier may discourage more dangerous upstarts, such as Chinese and Russian firms.
And more significantly – Boeing’s lawyers will have been encouraged by President Trump’s protectionist rhetoric. It is useful for them to know what the language means in practice. A lot, it turns out: the 219% tariff slapped on Bombardier’s planes for Delta.