Aircraft orders focus attention on export credit

(Wall Street Journal, 19 November 2013, Dubai) The $200 billion aircraft order bonanza at the Dubai Airshow has focused attention on the little-known system of government export credit agencies, which are used to help fund planes and other big-ticket equipment such as power generators. Proponents such as Boeing - a big winner at the show - maintain that ECAs are a crucial part of doing business, and competing with overseas rivals such as Airbus. Critics insist they distort industries, since not all airlines can access the support, while proponents of small government in the U.S. reckon they should be closed down.