European planemaker Airbus won shareholder backing Thursday to build a new model whose funding has triggered a transatlantic clash over subsidies, but promised to delay using state loans to try to cool the dispute.
European aerospace group EADS, which owns 80 percent of Airbus, said it was offering a "new window of opportunity" to resolve the dispute over how the new A350 jet should be funded and avert what threatens to be the biggest trade war between the European Union and the United States, the Reuters reports.
But it also called on rival Boeing (Research) to exercise similar restraint and there was no immediate word on whether Washington would welcome the offer, nor whether trade tensions would ease.
Airbus has applied for around a third of the 4.3 billion development costs for the A350 in European government loans. Washington opposes them, saying they would tip the market unfairly against Boeing's rival model, the 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus counters that Boeing receives disguised subsidies. EADS said after a board meeting it had decided not to touch the chest of loans from four countries -- Britain, France, Germany and Spain -- until the end of 2006 to let the trade tensions cool off. It did not say whether governments had committed to pay the loans once the deadline expired.
France said earlier its 2006 budget did not include a provision for paying development loans. Trade analysts had warned that committing to build the plane with government money up front could worsen the trade spat. France was the first to announce the peace overture concerning the loans ahead of Thursday's board meeting.