Airline industry a permanent hostage to national interests
As a green young Tokyo trade diplomat, I was peripherally involved in the efforts by Bombardier to sell its executive jets to the Japan Self-Defense Forces - "The White House called. What did you expect us to do….?"
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By Robin V. Sears - Sun., Oct. 22, 2017
As a green young Tokyo trade diplomat, I was peripherally involved in the efforts by Bombardier to sell its executive jets to the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The Canadian bid won on performance, specs, price and operational testing. Greenies like me were ready to celebrate. More seasoned veterans of this murky world said, "Not so fast … ."
Sylvain Faust Note: Remember when the government of France with Airbus worked against Bombardier? Leeham News: We were reliably told that the French government intervened with the Qatari government to block the important CSeries order at the Paris Air Show in favor of an order for the A319neo and A320neo - https://leehamnews.com/2013/12/31/qatar-swaps-a319...
A day or two after the closing date the Canadian Embassy got a call from a high-level contact in the Japanese government reporting that the contract would be going to Boeing. We all gasped and bellowed the equivalent of "WTF! This is outrageous! We won, fair and square." The Japanese caller said mildly, "The White House called. What did you expect us to do….?"
Civilian aircraft sales, like their close cousins, defence aircraft, are opaque and unsavoury as it possible to imagine. To say they are always subject to political pressure is to trivialize the reality. The big ones are always only about politics and national interests and everyone involved knows it. National interest trumps price, quality, and qualification. Claims of what was paid, what was received, denials of the side deals that sealed the sale, should be treated as less credible than a 5 a.m. Donald Trump tweet.
Complaints about subsidies perennially fly back and forth keeping trade lawyers rich and affecting nothing.