European tariffs on Boeing planes threaten their deployment in Europe – lessor

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FILE PHOTO: Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked at Boeing Field in Seattle

(Reuters) – The European Union’s decision to impose tariffs of 15% on Boeing Co <BA.N> planes is a threat to the deployment of the manufacturer’s jets in Europe, the chief executive of aircraft lessor Air Lease Corp <AL.N> said on Monday.

“This reciprocal tariff imposed by the EU on the importation of Boeing aircraft is a threat to MAX deployment into Europe, a key MAX and 787 marketplace,” Air Lease CEO John Plueger told investors on his company’s third-quarter earnings call.

The EU said earlier on Monday it would impose tariffs on up to $4 billion (£3 billion) of U.S. imports in retaliation for U.S. subsidies for Boeing, though it added it was hopeful of an improvement in trade ties under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

The EU tariffs come about a week before regulators are expected to clear the Boeing 737 MAX for service after a safety grounding of more than 19 months.

Plueger said his company had up to five planes due to be delivered to Europe by the end of 2021, though the schedule was subject to change.

“While our leases specifically say that such tariffs are the responsibility of the lessee, it is vital that the leadership at Boeing and Airbus talk with their governments to work out a solution that is in the broader interest of each country and eliminates tariffs on a severely damaged airline industry fighting for recovery,” he said.

“We are hopeful and optimistic that a solution eliminating tariffs on both sides of the Atlantic will be found,” Plueger added.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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