Politics

France’s Finance Minister Says He Avoids Flying Boeing over Safety

France’s combative finance minister, one of its most senior government officials, risked a diplomatic spat after saying he avoids Boeing aircraft for the sake of his own family.

Taking a snipe at the American aviation giant’s recent safety record, which has been a matter of massive concern in the United States, French government minister Bruno Le Maire said he’d far rather fly Airbus, the European jet rival.

Le Maire’s comments were made in address to Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury who was present at the same event. He praised the quality of European industry, saying that in the last century the continent had produced “the best machine tools, the best planes, the best cars, the best chemicals”, and for now at least it still made “the best planes… by far”.

The minister said he preferred “the situation” of Airbus to that of Boeing, and preferred to fly on the Europe-made aircraft than American, noting caustically “my family cares about me too”.

As noted by Bloomberg, the Airbus boss did not join in with the gloating over Boeing’s woes, and said the problems of his competitor did not make him happy and that fatal accidents calls for “humility, not complacency”.

Airbus was formed in the 1970s to compete with the American companies then dominating the global commercial jet industry, combining design and construction from several European states including France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The company’s A320 jet liner is, with the Boeing 737, one of the most produced aircraft ever, with other 11,000 made.

The 737 MAX, the latest generation of the long lived 737 line has been a source of trouble for Boeing after two fatal crashes shortly after launch, and then an uncontrolled decompression due to losing an exit door plug mid-flight in January. The The Federal Aviation Administration grounded 171 examples of the aircraft for inspections. Just this month, another Boeing passenger jet in the U.S. garnered headlines after part of the aircraft was found to be missing after it landed.



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