Airbus chief calls on EU to patch up shaky US partnership

Bloc recently imposed retaliatory tariffs on US aircraft following Trump move last year

Trade tensions between the EU and the US threaten to bog down Airbus and its US rival Boeing.

Trade tensions between the EU and the US threaten to bog down Airbus and its US rival Boeing.

 

Airbus chief executive officer Guillaume Faury called on the European Union to patch up its shaky partnership with the US, warning that the bloc risks falling behind as other regions recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Asia is going faster than the rest of the world,” Faury said Monday at Business Day 2020, a German economic forum. “I’m really worried we’ll emerge late and weakened.”

Trade tensions between the EU and the US threaten to bog down Airbus and its US rival Boeing as they try to claw their way back from the worst aviation crisis in history.

Meanwhile, a new Asia-Pacific trade deal shows the risks of Europe and the US continuing to battle each other on trade rather than working together, Faury said.

The Airbus CEO said that while he agreed with the EU’s recent decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on US aircraft, an escalating trade war “would not be good for Boeing, Airbus or the industry.”

US president Donald Trump slapped tariffs on EU-built planes and other goods last year, amplifying a 16-year rift between the two dominant planemakers. His defeat by challenger Joe Biden in this month’s election has led to calls for a reset.

“It’s obvious this conflict neither helps customers nor industry,” Faury said.

With lockdowns holding back air travel in Europe, the Airbus chief added his voice to appeals for European governments to adopt airport testing rather than quarantining travellers.

He said testing was a safe and proven way to protect travellers while allowing the industry to recover.

Armando Brunini, chief executive officer of Milan airports authority SEA, said the Malpensa airfield will start a pilot project on Thursday involving a weekly flight to China by Italian airline Neos SpA.

The arrangement will involve the rapid testing of passengers for Covid-19 at the carrier’s expense, he said in an interview.

Malpensa is also in contact with a US carrier interested in a similar pilot project, Brunini said. He declined to identify the airline or the US destination.

“We want to push bottom up with specific projects,” he said. “We want to showcase basically.” – Bloomberg