Pilots sue Boeing for $100m over claims 737 Max was unsafe

Lucy Nicholson  Reuters File
A traveler checks her baggage at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX airport in Los Angeles on Jan. 24 2017

Lucy Nicholson Reuters File A traveler checks her baggage at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX airport in Los Angeles on Jan. 24 2017

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is suing The Boeing Company for $100 million in lost income connected with the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft.

"As Southwest Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly previously stated, all Southwest Employees have been impacted by the MAX grounding and it is our intention to allocate, as appropriate, any compensation received from a Boeing business settlement among all Employees via ProfitSharing", Southwest said in a statement.

The Southwest pilots won't be the only group seeking compensation from Boeing.

According to Tewolde, Ethiopian Airlines faced difficulties operating large Boeing 737 MAX, as it had to stop off at a second destination on flights from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to cities including Windhoek in Namibia and the Botswana capital Gaborone for refueling.

Governments and airlines around the world have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts since March after two crashes within six months of each other - in October 2018 and March 2019 - that killed a total of 346 people.

A spokesman for the aircraft maker said: "We continue to work with regulators on addressing their concerns and working through the process for certifying the 737 Max software and training updates and safely returning the airplane to service". The filing couldn't be immediately confirmed at the court.

The lawsuit cited news accounts for many of its claims.

Boeing has said there was no breakdown in the design, testing and Federal Aviation Administration approval of the Max.

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The issue is separate from changes to the aircraft's faulty Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) but related to an emergency procedure that can be used by pilots to address the plane's system malfunctions.

"Boeing has the greatest respect for the men and women who fly for Southwest Airlines", a Boeing spokesperson said in a statement.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max lands in Victorville, Calif., in March.

The planemaker didn't share those differences, including MCAS, during work with Swapa and Southwest as recently as 2016, the union said.

The Boeing 737 Max is on the move again with its first sale in months. "The 737 MAX now is grounded worldwide because it is unsafe, unairworthy, and contrary to Boeing's representations, distinct from the 737 family of aircraft that preceded it, which SWAPA pilots have flown for years".

FAA still needs to see Boeing's "final system description" - a "500-ish page document that has the architecture of the flight control system and the changes that they have made", Dickson said last month.

Pilots are paid for time spent flying, and the grounding of the Max forced Southwest to cancel 30,000 flights, according to the union.

Southwest has said it would take about 45 days after the ban is lifted to have the Max ready to fly. The panel is investigating the certification of the Max by US aviation regulators.

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