Canada’s to by used Australian fighter jets in trade row after Trump
AFP – American manufacturer Boeing on Friday praised Canada for its planned purchase of used Australian F-18 fighter jets, which the government has yet to confirm.
"The Boeing Company respects the Canadian government’s decision," it said in a statement, citing reports that Ottawa will buy the planes after breaking off talks with Boeing to purchase 18 new F-18 Super Hornets following a major trade row.
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan’s spokeswoman Byrne Furlong declined to comment on the reports and Boeing’s praise, saying only that Ottawa is "actively exploring options, including with Australia," for fighter jets.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in 2015 scrapped the previous administration’s planned purchase of state-of-the-art, but costly, Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging F-18 fleet.
His government promised to hold a competitive bidding process in 2019, but in the meantime announced it would pick up 18 new Boeing Super Hornets to fill an air force interim capability gap.
The deal fell apart after Boeing filed a trade complaint against Canada’s largest manufacturer, Bombardier, over the sale of its new CSeries passenger jetliners in a bid to keep it out of the US market, resulting in massive duties being imposed on the planes.
"Attempts by Boeing to put tens of thousands of aerospace workers out of work across Canada is not something we look on positively," Trudeau told reporters in October when he went to Washington to press US President Donald Trump on the issue.
"And I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us purchasing any — making any military procurements from Boeing," he said.
The would-be deal with Australia could include extra planes to be used for spare parts, according to reports, thereby potentially eliminating the need for a maintenance contract with Boeing.