Boeing has backed Airbus in its dispute with the European Union over the EU’s carbon pricing scheme, a rare moment of agreement between two arch-rivals who remain locked in a bitter trade dispute over government subsidies.
“This is not about Boeing and Airbus,” Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh told Reuters during an aviation industry meeting in Geneva. “It is about what is best for our customers and how we are going to get the whole industry to reduce its environmental footprint.”
The EU’s Emission Trading Scheme has drawn strong criticism from the aviation industry and from other countries – most notably China, India and the US – who say Brussels is acting unilaterally and should have worked through the UN for global consensus on emissions reduction. The EU has said it acted only after years of global inaction and has no plans to abandon the scheme.
But the plot has thickened, with Airbus claiming the Chinese government is holding up commercial orders of its aircraft in retaliation for the scheme and warning of a looming trade war.
Boeing and Airbus are in the midst of a trade war of their own – with each side arguing that the other receives illegal government subsidies. The WTO has ruled against both parties, but the dispute remains unresolved.
In another bit of cooperation on Thursday, the world’s two largest planemakers joined with number three Embraer in announcing a deal to study biofuels.