Once again the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled on claims of illegal subsidies in the large aircraft market, and once again, both Airbus and Boeing are claiming victory.

This time the WTO was adjudicating on Europe’s complaint against the USA and Washington state, but the reactions from the big two airframers were much the same as they had been in September, when European launch aid was at the centre of the probe.

Both companies have found vindication in the latest judgement, albeit by selectively picking the parts of the WTO’s findings that best suit them.

This is a tit-for-tat row that has been played out since 2004, with little sign of any meaningful change.

Indeed, as has often been observed, the only parties that are doing well out of the whole sorry process are those in the legal profession. And a fresh set of appeals promises another windfall for the lawyers.

However, neither side appears to be growing tired of the endless wrangling, although quite what either hopes to achieve must now be open to question.

Embraer has recently made noises about pursuing a similar action against Bombardier, Quebec and Canada, claiming illegal state support for the CSeries.

But with Airbus v Boeing now limping into its second decade, the Brazilian airframer must be wondering if a pyrrhic victory is worth the expense.

Source: Flight International