I had to laugh. Airbus wants the money - a blind man running for the bus could have seen that one coming. Not really a big deal, except that it publicly states that the 330 is dead and will be a white elephant in the near future. If A didn't want that next billion they would simply have improved the 330.
Let's face it - A is onto a pretty good deal with these handouts. With a line, the 380 for instance, A gets to initially sell them without including any principle or interest in the price. They determine how many planes the development costs are spread over and after that amount have been sold they probably get to determine how much of the principle & interest gets paid per plane sold. A can therefore spread the R&D costs over the first 1,500 380s and sell them cheaper - and only worry about paying back the loan if they reach that magic sales level.
Dropping the 330 for the 350 may also mean that the 330 loans will never have to be repaid. Another good reason for A to play the game. the good people at A are definitely smarter than I am . . . Only the taxpayers in a few countries get screwed, but taxpayers generally get screwed so A doesn't have to worry about that.
Frankly, the original agreement was a good one at the time. Airbus was a weak little sister that needed a bit more than an allowance would cover. Little sis is, however, all grown up and people have been calling her "Big Bertha" for a while now. At some point she has to make her own way in the world or B might rightly be able to point out to prospects that A will fail if the cash flow doesn't keep coming. A cannot hold off paying all of their "loans" and, if they have to stat paying on a lot all of a sudden they may not be in a very strong financial position - especially if the 7E7 is a strong seller.
The only shocker to me was the comment about the engines for the 7E7. I had thought that the RR
engines were chose because they were the best option. Now Mr. Forgeard has publicly stated that the reason was because of Japan's concerns about being sucked into the dispute. I'm sure that the good folks at RR
are pleased with that comment - and that the good folks at GE
will make very good use of it in other competitions.