This is the grayest of the gray areas. And an area of which I know very little, so everything I will say is something I've heard from somone else.
Is Airbus subsidized? Short answer- sort of
Is Boeing subsidized? Short answer- sort of
The days of direct subsidies are over (well mostly) but that doesn't mean some questionable deals have been cut. No doubt, Airbus in their early days were subsidized. A case could be made that Airbus didn't pay a cent of the A300, A310, A320, and A330/A340 development. I don't buy that completly, but I don't doubt large chunks of the Airbus product line were subsidized. A bilateral agreement signed in 1992 prevents a manufacture from recieving subsidies that total more than 30% of the total development cost. Since all but the A380 were built before this development, they'res no telling how much other products were subsidized. And of note, several major A380 loans do not have to be repaid if the aircraft does not turn a profit for Airbus. How convienient.
Then there is Boeing, not exactly clean either. Boeing has one of the largest military/space divisions in the world, if not the largest. Huge DoD contracts mean big bucks for Boeing, as Boeing Integrated Defense Systems now makes more profit that Boeing Commercial Aircraft Division. The profit from defense products is (rumored) to be funneled back to BCA to fund new commercial products.
Direct subsidy- no, indirect subsidy- maybe. I have a problem calling this a subsidy because Boeing is making a profit off a service they provide. They sell an F-18 and no one can say Boeing doesn't have the right to spend their profit how ever they like. Boeing does not plead with the Pentagon for money to build a new commercial aircraft. But, sometimes military contracts appear more expensive than they should, like the KC
-767 contract. This is where the subsidy cry comes in. Instead of directly subsidizing Boeing, the theory is the DoD pays twice what a product is worth instead.
My problem with this theory- Boeing, until very recently, had one of the smallest military divisions in the U.S. It wasn't until Boeing went on a buying spree in the 90s and gobbled up Rockwall, McDonnel Douglas, and others that Boeing had a sizeable military sector. Boeing's only two big military contracts from 1950-1990 were the B-52 and KC
-135. Yes these were huge, but compare that to MdD's, Lockheeds, and Rockwall's contracts... rather miniscule in the grand scheme of things. And since Boeing aquired it's military divison, it has only begun one major project- the 7E7. And now Boeing is saying it would be willing to disclose it's finances if Airbus did so in kind, so I'm inclined to think Boeing is keeping the 7E7 clean as well.
The 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, and 777 were all developed out of Boeing's pocket, but revenue from military contracts no doubt helped fill Boeing's pocket.
I have a three post per topic limit. You're welcome to have the last word.