Unfortunately, the Air Force still doesn’t have its new tanker fleet.
Last week, the World Trade Organization ruled that EADS had been illegally subsidized by European businesses and that this had given Airbus — EADS’ commercial airplane unit — an unfair advantage in the Air Force bidding process with Northrop Grumman, its former U.S. partner.
Supporters of Boeing Co., EADS’ opposition, declared victory and began pressing for this decision to be considered when the Pentagon decides which company will build the tanker.
Grumman/EADS supporters, including U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, replied that an international trade dispute should not be taken into account in deciding which company will make the best tanker for the Air Force.
This page agrees.
Besides, the decision was not a clear win for Boeing. The WTO ruling rejected the notion that Boeing lost jobs because of the subsidies EADS received; likewise, don’t forget the parallel investigation of subsidies that Boeing may have received. Nothing can be done until that case is decided. Plus, when the WTO rules, the losing company surely will appeal.
This never-ending, eternal controversy will go on and on and on. And the Air Force won’t have the new fleet of refueling tankers it needs.