Leading US carrier Delta Air Lines “won’t pay any tariffs” on the 75 CSeries aircraft it has ordered despite the US government imposing a 300% import tariff on the Bombardier jets.
Delta chief executive Ed Bastian reconfirmed the carrier’s stance this week after the US Department of Commerce imposed the tariff on Bombardier CSeries aircraft in rulings in September and October following complaints by US manufacturer Boeing.
Bastion said: “We’re not going to pay any tariffs. I don’t know what [the Department of] Commerce will do, but Delta is not going to pay any tariffs.”
He declined to comment on the announcement this week that European aircraft maker Airbus will take a majority stake (50.01%) in the C-Series of Canadian manufacturer Bombardier.
Bastian said: “We were aware of the discussions [between Airbus and Bombardier], but not part of them.”
He insisted: “We just can’t let anyone prevent innovation coming into the market.”
Bastian added: “The CSeries 100-150 passenger category is a market niche that is unserved. It is a plane with over 50% US content [parts]. Boeing 787 parts are produced all over the world.
“I don’t get it. I’m mystified, and I’ve told Boeing that.”
However, Bastian also insisted: “We will be taking more Boeing aircraft. We have very good relations with Boeing.
“Delta is the second-largest operator of Boeing material in the world, and if you think of our family of companies – Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, Virgin Atlantic – we probably have a larger Boeing footprint than any other company.”
He added: “We agree with Boeing on state aid. We believe in fair trade not free trade as we’ve said before on the Gulf issue.
“But it is hard to see how Boeing is being harmed [by the C Series]. It is pretty different to the Gulf [airlines] situation.”
Delta has led the major US carriers in arguing for restrictions on expansion by Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways in the US, alleging the airlines have benefited from state aid.
The Airbus-Bombardier deal was hailed in the UK where 1,000 Bombardier staff in Belfast work on wings for the C-Series.
Delta has ordered 75 CSeries CS100 aircraft and has options on another 50.
Bastion said: “The C Series will be handy in serving our smaller hubs where we’re not ready for a larger narrow body [aircraft].
“We used to have 500 regional jets and we’re down to 100. The CSeries is the next step in that.”
Delta unveiled its first Airbus A350 this week, with a new cabins in Delta One (business) Delta Comfort (premium economy) and a new main cabin (economy).
The aircraft will launch between Delta’s Atlanta hub and Tokyo Narita on October 30, with services to Seoul and Beijing to follow.
Delta will launch its first A350 services from Europe next summer, beginning from Amsterdam.
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