• US-based Boeing has yet to lose any orders due to lapse in authority of US Exim
  • Financing aircraft purchases in the absence of US Exim support will be more difficult
  • Boeing is lobbying for the bank’s reauthorisation and believes efforts will be successful

US aircraft manufacturer Boeing is confident that efforts to renew the Export Import Bank of the US (US Exim) will be successful.

Boeing has yet to be seriously affected by the US Congress allowing the authorisation of the export credit agency (ECA) to lapse. US Exim can no longer take on new business or process authorisations.

“To date, we have not lost any orders due to the lapse in US Exim’s authority,” says Tim Neale, director of communications at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our customers are concerned about the future of US Exim, but also have confidence in the ability of the US business community to convince Congress to reauthorise the bank. We also have capacity to provide some customer financing over the short term.”

Boeing is the top beneficiary of US Exim globally, according to the US free-market think-tank Mercatus Center. In 2013, the ECA provided more than $900m in long-term guarantees to UAE-based aviation companies to finance the purchase of Boeing aircraft, followed by another $284m in 2014. It has also guaranteed purchases by Royal Air Maroc and Kuwait’s Alafco Aviation Leasing & Finance Company in recent years.

If the lapse in authorisation continues, the situation will become more worrying for Boeing. Major airlines have other options to finance aircraft purchases, but it will push up costs for smaller carriers.

“We will work with less credit-worthy airlines to find financing, as we’ve always done in the past,” says Neale. “Leasing may be the answer for some. In other cases, we may provide the financing ourselves, although there are limits to how much of that we can do. US Exim plays an important niche role in global financing.”

US manufacturing and business lobbies are pushing for Congress to pass a bill reauthorising the ECA in its autumn session on the basis that the bank keeps US products competitive.

Boeing is not alone in believing the reauthorisation will happen, and soon.

“Boeing is part of a broad [coalition] of US businesses that is educating members of Congress about the role US Exim plays in financing US exports, as well as its importance to US jobs in the export sector,” says Neale. “The coalition has been active for many months and has made considerable progress in building support for US Exim’s reauthorisation.”

It is widely thought there is a congressional majority in favour of reauthorising the ECA. The biggest challenge will be scheduling a bill on the calendar, which is controlled by opponents of the bank.

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