True to all expectations, the World Trade Organisation ruling last week on Europe's claim that Boeing receives "illegal" subsidies was a victory for Europe. And, it was a victory for the USA. As they did in June, when the WTO ruled on the USA complaint against European launch aid for the Airbus A380 programme, both sides claimed a win.

So what next? Boeing - claiming a great victory - wants Europe to stop subsidising Airbus. Europe - claiming a great victory - wants the Americans to come to the negotiating table and resolve this dispute.

Don't hold your breath. Boeing is adamant Airbus must comply with the WTO's demands. The Europeans - claiming victory, after all - seem unlikely to do that.

Sources close to Airbus say the Europeans suspect Boeing may actually believe it can win a lawsuit and crush them. Or, maybe, they just hope to rattle Europe's cage enough to put a few hurdles in the way of the A350 programme, especially given the 787's tardiness.

The Airbus call for negotiations makes sense, however, because both sides must recognise that, unlike just five or six years ago when the suits were first filed, they aren't each other's big problem any more.

Rather than fight each other pointlessly, they'd be well advised to pull together to establish a subsidy regime that accommodates the Chinese, Russians, Canadians and Brazilians.

Source: Flight International