The World Trade Organization appellate body has handed the United States a definitive victory in its long-running case against European subsidies for Airbus, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The panel found that Airbus had received $18 billion in WTO-inconsistent subsidies that have caused harm to our industry over the last 20 years, Tim Reif, general counsel for the U.S. Trade Representative's office told reporters in teleconference in Washington.

The panel ruling, once formally adopted by the WTO's dispute settlement body, requires European governments to withdraw subsidies given to Airbus or eliminate their adverse effects within 60 days, he said.

This report confirms for decades the European Union and its member states, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, have provided massive amounts of market-distorting launch aid and other subsidies that are inconsistent with WTO rules, he said.

The United States lost on some issues in the appeal, but said on the whole we're enormously pleased with these findings, Reif said. This definitive victory will benefit American aerospace workers who for decades have had to compete against a heavily-subsized Airbus.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Neil Stempleman)