Delta Air Lines Inc.‘s Brazilian partner has received loan guarantees totaling $45.5 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to support their engine maintenance contract. 

GOL Linhas Aereas S.A. ships aircraft engines to be serviced in Atlanta by Delta TechOps, the airline’s maintenance, repair and overhaul unit. Delta performs more than half GOL’s aircraft maintenance. GOL received a similar guarantee last April for $84.8 million.

The Ex-Im Bank provides backing for foreign firms purchasing American products, aiming to level the playing field for U.S. exporters. 

Delta has long opposed the bank’s support of foreign airlines’ purchases of U.S.-made widebody aircraft. On April 3 Delta sued the bank to halt $100 million in loan guarantees to a variety of foreign airlines including Emirates Airlines and Korean Air Lines, saying the guarantees lower their cost of capital and make for unfair competition. 

Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said there’s no inconsistency in having Ex-Im back the GOL deal while suing the bank for its other activities. 

“It has absolutely nothing to do with Delta’s issue with Ex-Im. Our position from the very beginning has been focused on Ex-Im financing for the sale of widebody international aircraft, which provides foreign competitors with a significant advantage over U.S. airlines on international routes,” Mr. Banstetter told Global Atlanta in an email. “That puts thousands of U.S. aviation jobs at risk.”

Brazil is one of Delta’s highest-priority markets, and its deal with GOL extends beyond maintenance to air service. The codeshare partnership gives Delta access to 15 Brazilian cities. 

Read more: A Week After Ex-Im Suit, Delta Names International Counsel

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...