Delta Air Lines Inc.'s chief executive on Wednesday characterized as "bizarre" the claim by Boeing Co. that rival planemaker Bombardier Inc. is doing business unfairly and said he does not expect the U.S. government to impose stiff duties on the Canadian jets.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday slapped preliminary anti-subsidy duties on Bombardier CSeries jets after Boeing accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing the aircraft, a move likely to strain trade relations between the neighbors.
The CEO of Delta, which ordered 75 CSeries jets in April 2016, made the statement at the Skift Global Forum in New York.
The preliminary duty of 220 percent is subject to a final ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2018.
"How this is somehow a U.S. trade dispute is bizarre," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, adding that Boeing's claims were the "ultimate hypocrisy" given the company's supply deals with Gulf carriers.
Britain and the Canadian province of Quebec threatened retaliation on Wednesday over the stiff U.S. tariffs.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard called on Ottawa to ensure that "not a bolt, not a part, not a plane from Boeing" be allowed into Canada until the dispute had been resolved.
"Boeing may have won a battle but, let me tell you, the war is far from over. And we will win," Couillard told reporters, describing the duties as an attack.
Boeing said that the duties were decided by “independent third parties” through a “transparent, fact-based investigation.” The world’s biggest plane maker also said that the decision confirmed that Bombardier received “massive illegal subsidies” that allowed it to sell the CSeries in the United States at prices below cost.
Bastian did not say whether the high duties would affect Delta's decision to go through with its order of planes, but added, "We do not think there will be a 220 percent tariff when it's all said and done."