Bombardier has received a boost with a surprise ruling in its favour from the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in its dispute with Boeing over its C Series aircraft.
The C Series struck controversy in 2017, when Boeing complained to the US government Bombardier sold the aircraft to Delta Air Lines at unfairly low prices in what it alleged amounted to price dumping. Further, Boeing alleged the C Series benefitted from what it said were illegal subsidies from the governments of Canada and the UK.
The US Department of Commerce upheld the complaint and levied preliminary duties bringing the total tariff to 300 per cent, sinking a hole in the side of the C Series reaching the US market.
However, after hearing testimony from all parties in the dispute in December, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Bombardier did no harm to Boeing with the sale of the C Series to Delta Air Lines.
“The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a US industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft from Canada that the US Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are subsidised and sold at less than fair value,” the US ITC said in a statement on its website.
“Chairman Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Vice Chairman David S. Johanson, and Commissioners Irving A. Williamson and Meredith M. Broadbent voted in the negative.
“As a result of the USITC’s negative determinations, no antidumping or countervailing duty orders will be issued.”
Aviation analysts and market watchers had predicted the ITC to rule in favour of Boeing in this matter.
While the parties involved would get the full reasons for the decision shortly, a public version of the ITC’s findings was expected to be released on March 2.
Delta Air Lines, which has orders for 75 CS100s and also holds options for a further Series 50 aircraft, said it was pleased with the ITC decision.
“The airline looks forward to introducing the innovative CS100 to its fleet for the benefit of Delta’s employees, customers and shareowners,” Delta said in a statement.
Bombardier said the ITC decision was a “victory for innovation, competition, and the rule of law”, as well as US airlines and the US travelling public.
Further, it would allow the company to focus on its partnership with Airbus first announced in October 2017.
“With this matter behind us, we are moving full speed ahead with finalizing our partnership with Airbus,” Bombardier said in a statement.
“Integration planning is going well and we look forward to delivering the C Series to the US market so that US airlines and the US flying public can enjoy the many benefits of this remarkable aircraft.”
The C Series features two variants – the CS100 designed to seat 110 passengers in a single-class configuration and the larger CS300 which is configured for 135 passengers, based on 32in seat pitch.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G geared turbofan, the C Series competes for the lower end of the narrowbody market alongside the Embraer E2 and Mitsubishi Regional Jet, and to a lesser degree designs from Sukhoi and COMAC.
A “disappointed” Boeing maintained it had suffered harm from what it termed illegal subsidies used to “dump aircraft in the US small single-aisle airplane market”.
“While we disagree with the ITC’s conclusion today, we will review the Commission’s more detailed opinions in full as they are released in the coming days,” Boeing said.
The company has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Court of International Trade (CIT).
Boeing had been competing with Bombardier for the Delta order of small narrowbody aircraft.