Boeing Official Compares Ex-Im Closing To ‘Armageddon’

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Peter Fricke Contributor
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A Boeing official said that closing the Export-Import Bank would be comparable to “Armageddon” for the aircraft maker, according to Bloomberg.

After a lengthy debate during which the bank was accused of crony capitalism by conservative critics, Congress passed a short-term extension of Ex-Im in September as part of a continuing resolution that also authorized military action against ISIS and kept the government funded through December. (RELATED: House Includes Short-Term Ex-Im Extension in Government Funding Bill)

The extension only lasts until June, however, at which point Ex-Im opponents hope that, without other issues to confuse the debate, support for the bank will evaporate.

Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Kostya Zolotusky, managing director for capital markets at Boeing, dismissed the possibility that Congress would allow Ex-Im’s charter to expire, calling it “outside the realm of the realistic.” (RELATED: Democrats Rally Support for Export-Import Bank)

Boeing is so confident that Ex-Im will be re-authorized, in fact, that it has not made any plans for dealing with that eventuality. “How would you plan for an Armageddon?” Zolotusky asked. “We’re not planning for an Armageddon. You can’t plan for an Armageddon.”

Zolotusky’s current stance marks a significant departure from comments he made last year, when he told the Wall Street Journal that he was merely “nervous” about the prospect of Ex-Im closing.

At that time, the paper said Zolotusky “was confident the company could find alternative funding sources,” though they might be more expensive. (RELATED: Boeing, Delta Square Off on Export-Import Bank)

Even if those efforts turned out to be unsuccessful, though, Zolotusky indicated that Boeing would “provide guarantees or direct finance to support sales,” on its own.

In recent years, Boeing has been the biggest recipient of Ex-Im financing. Last year, Bloomberg reports that Boeing received “about 65 percent of the bank’s long-term loan guarantees,” which supported “$8.3 billion of Boeing’s aircraft sales.”

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