Southwest Pilots Sue Boeing Over MAX Grounding

$US100 million is the amount of wages lost thanks to 737 MAX being grounded making Southwest Airlines sue Boeing.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), which represents 10,000 Southwest pilots, filed a lawsuit against Boeing Co. alleging that the grounding of the plane-maker’s 737 MAX aircraft caused over $100 million (81.3 million pounds) in lost wages. The lawsuit, was filed in Dallas, Texas.

“Boeing has the greatest respect for the men and women who fly for Southwest Airlines.  We are aware that their pilot union, SWAPA, has filed a lawsuit against Boeing related to the 737 MAX suspension of operations. We believe this lawsuit is merit-less and will vigorously defend against it,” Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said.

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The elimination of more than 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights since the grounding made it hard to reduce the airlines’ passenger service by 8% by the end of 2019 as they had planned.

346 people died in crashes in Indonesia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia in March this year. In both crashes, the MCAS anti-stall handling system was activated making pilots have difficulty controlling the plane according to preliminary investigations.

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“We have to be able to trust Boeing to truthfully disclose the information we need to safely operate our aircraft. In the case of the 737 MAX, that absolutely did not happen,’’ SWAPA president Jonathan L. said.

It is not clear when the MAX will return to service but Boeing remains optimistic it will get the green light in the current quarter but airlines say it will take time to train pilots and get the planes flying.

Southwest is scheduling without the MAX until at least early January, pending regulatory approval for the planes to fly again.

Southwest Airlines is the largest operator of the MAX with 34 jetliners in its fleet and planned on adding 20 more by the end of 2019.

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