Boeing filed its complaint against Bombardier in early June. Here we are, two weeks away from a decision by the Dept. of Commerce and the UK is now reaching out to the US government to seek help for Bombardier. Where have they been?
Several weeks ago we had an exchange with a contact in Belfast, who was surprised by the news. The forthcoming impact on the Shorts factory in Belfast was not comprehended. It has now, apparently. This “working tirelessly” claim looks like a joke. Have these people been asleep at the switch?
The threat was manifest eight plus weeks ago. What bargaining chips does the UK have? Well, there is the Chinook buy. Boeing is not even vaguely threatened by this deal – what else could the UK buy? Canada has muttered about not buying Super Hornets – but is looking at Australian Hornets as an interim step. Boeing must be laughing. Is there any surprise Boeing walked away from discussions with the Canadian government?
Boeing is not concerned with Canada or the UK because neither can go anywhere to get what they need at economically (make that politically) acceptable prices. They will end up back in Boeing’s customer listing, so the threats against Boeing are meaningless. If Canada were to publicly announce its intention to acquire Rafales now, for example, the threat might have teeth. But small teeth. (Why doesn’t Canada get F-35s? What about a deal with the very hungry SAAB?) Neither the UK nor Canada has the desire to spend what they need to buy equipment for their military to free them from Boeing’s clutches.
Perhaps the Canadian and UK governments have a still secret plan set for unveiling September 26th. Could they bring the British Commonwealth to bear? We are not betting on it. It really looks like too little and too late.