The United States and the European Union have agreed on a five-year suspension in tit-for-tat tariffs over a 17-year-long trade dispute that involved subsidies given to Boeing and Airbus for airplane development. The deal, announced today during President Joe Biden’s meetings with EU leaders in Brussels, heads off billions of dollars in duties that could have affected a wide range of products — although U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the tariffs could be reactivated if “U.S. producers are not able to compete fairly.”
With Boeing’s blessing, Washington state lawmakers have introduced bills aimed at suspending tax breaks that have benefited the aerospace company to the tune of millions of dollars annually.
Airbus says it has acquired MTM Robotics, a Seattle-area company that provides automated systems for aerospace manufacturing, for an undisclosed sum.
MTM’s headquarters are in Mukilteo, Wash., just a few miles from Boeing’s Everett factory. But MTM has had a close connection to Boeing’s European archrival: For more than a decade, the company has provided light automated robotics systems for Airbus’ manufacturing facilities.
As an subsidiary of Virginia-based Airbus Americas Inc., MTM will retain its current leadership and 40-employee staff at the 10,000-square-foot Mukilteo facility, Airbus said today in a news release.
Voom has officially extended its app-based, on-demand helicopter service to the San Francisco Bay Area, confirming that the Airbus subsidiary is now active in the United States as well as in Brazil and Mexico.
Today’s announcement comes months after initial reports that the San Francisco-based venture was beta-testing its service in the Bay Area.
Customers can now use Voom’s app or website to book trips with connections to five Bay Area airports: Napa, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Jose. Prices start at $215, and a quick check of the website shows that the per-seat fare for a trip from San Francisco to San Jose is $285.
That’s significantly more than an Uber or taxi fare, but Voom is counting on customers to put a higher value on their time.
“Our service will make it easy and affordable for business travelers to travel quickly from locations such as the San Francisco airport to San Jose in only 20 minutes, rather than sitting in traffic for hours trying to get to a meeting,” Voom CEO Clement Monnet said in a news release.
Kymeta Corp., the Redmond, Wash.-based company backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other investors, has demonstrated the performance of its flat-panel satellite antennas in an unlikely setting: on top of buses traveling throughout Peru.
With the aid of partners including Intelsat, Cubic Telecom and Cradlepoint, Kymeta worked with Airbus to create a pilot project called SmartBus. The project involved outfitting interprovincial buses operated by TEPSA — the Peruvian analog to Greyhound Lines — with Kymeta’s satellite terminals.
SmartBus is designed to gather up-to-the-minute data on road safety and other indicators to improve Peru’s transportation system while connecting people in remote areas of the country.
The system leverages satellite bandwidth capacity from Intelsat, cellular coverage from Cubic Telecom and a software-defined WAN solution from Cradlepoint to establish real-time data connections along a 460-mile bus route through Peru.
A flying car developed by Airbus, Audi and Italdesign took a high-profile test flight today at the Amsterdam Drone Week conference, but its size was low-profile.
The modular vehicle was a quarter-scale demonstration model of the “Pop.Up Next” transportation system that the three companies are developing.
The idea is to have a passenger compartment that can sit on top of a four-wheeled electric vehicle to travel the roads, or attach to the bottom of a quadcopter to fly through the air. At the Amsterdam show, the three companies displayed impressive full-scale mockups of the flying car, but the gizmo that actually flew was basically a drone with brackets attached.
A new nonprofit organization is partnering with Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture, Airbus and other heavy-hitters to create a moon-centric prize program known as “The Moon Race.”
The contest’s goal is to boost technologies that could contribute to sustainable lunar exploration. A lot of the details, however, are still up in the air — including exactly what those technologies will be, and how much the prizes will amount to.
The project’s German organizers say more will be revealed next year, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Between now and then, they plan to nail down the details in league with Blue Origin and Airbus, as well as the European Space Agency, Mexico’s space agency and Vinci Construction.
After months of negotiations, Boeing and Brazilian jetmaker Embraer today announced a tentative agreement to form a $4.75 billion joint venture that would bring Embraer’s small-size commercial aircraft operations firmly into Boeing’s fold.
The arrangement is a strategic parry to last year’s move by Boeing’s European archrival, Airbus, to partner with Canada’s Bombardier on small-size jets.
Embraer’s engineering expertise could also come into play as Boeing gears up to design and produce a new breed of midsize jet variously known as the New Mid-Market Airplane, NMA or 797.
“This important partnership clearly aligns with Boeing’s long-term strategy of investing in organic growth and returning value to shareholders, complemented by strategic arrangements that enhance and accelerate our growth plans,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chairman, president and CEO, said today in a news release.
The World Trade Organization today issued its final report in a long-running dispute over subsidies for Airbus jets, potentially clearing the way for the U.S. to levy harsh tariffs on European imports.
It’s more likely, however, that U.S. and European officials will bear down on negotiations over complaints that also touch on the Boeing Co.’s tax breaks from Washington state.
Today’s WTO appellate panel ruling determined that Airbus received improper loan subsidies from European governments to launch its A350 and A380 jets. Similar claims, relating to the A320 and A330 lines, were dismissed.
In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the ruling “confirms once and for all that the EU has long ignored WTO rules.”
“Unless the EU finally takes action to stop breaking the rules and harming U.S. interests, the United States will have to move forward with countermeasures on EU products,” Lighthizer said.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the ruling affirmed his company’s complaints. “Today’s final ruling sends a clear message: disregard for the rules and illegal subsidies is not tolerated,” he said in a statement.
This week marked a milestone for Airbus Ventures’ Vahana team, which is developing a self-flying, electric-powered air taxi — also known as a flying car.
Vahana’s 20-foot-wide Alpha One prototype executed its first test flight at the Pendleton Unmanned Aerial Systems Range in eastern Oregon, rising to a height of 16 feet (5 meters) during 53 seconds in the air on Jan. 31.
Another test flight came a day later, Vahana project leader Zach Lovering reported in a Medium posting.
Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Airbus’ A3 advanced-projects division were in attendance, along with the full Vahana team, Lovering said.
“In just under two years, Vahana took a concept sketch on a napkin and built a full-scale, self-piloted aircraft that has successfully completed its first flight,” he said in a news release.