WASHINGTON, June 18 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on
Tuesday let stand a 2011 decision by the U.S. Export-Import Bank
to finance the sale of 30 Boeing wide-body jets to Air
India in a legal challenge brought by Delta Air Lines.
However, the court directed the government-run bank to
better explain its rationale for the loans.
The ruling allowed both the bank and Delta, which has been
engaged in a long-running spat with the Ex-Im Bank, to claim
"I am gratified by the court's recognition that these
transactions should not be impeded by litigation," Fred
Hochberg, chairman and president of the Ex-Im Bank, said in a
statement after the ruling.
Delta said in a statement: "The bank now will be required to
take the complaints of industry participants seriously before
proceeding with potentially harmful subsidies to foreign
Altanta-based Delta, which is expecting its most profitable
year ever in 2013, claims it is hurt by Ex-Im Bank programs that
allow foreign carriers to buy Boeing jets on easier credit terms
than it can get.
In its suit, it claimed that Ex-Im had failed to consider
the economic impact of its loan guarantees. The airline
initially sought to stop $3.4 billion in preliminary and final
Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees to help India acquire the aircraft.
The appeals court said it was directing the Ex-Im Bank to
better explain its decision for the loans "without vacating any
of the bank's actions in this matter to date."
But it added: "The bank's actions on remand of course will
be subject to later judicial review if an aggrieved party wishes
to challenge the bank's actions as unlawful."
The main U.S. airline industry group, Airlines for America,
applauded the appeals court decision, which it said "recognizes
that the U.S. Export-Import Bank ... must consider the impact of
loan guarantees on U.S. industries and U.S. jobs."