Disgruntled Southwest Airlines pilots, frustrated by the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft, have filed suit against Boeing Co., the plane’s manufacturer, over lost income.
The planes have been grounded since mid-March after two separate 737 MAX crashes killed a combined 346 passengers and crew earlier this year.
“We believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it,” Boeing said in a statement “We will continue to work with Southwest Airlines and its pilots on efforts to safely return the MAX to service.”
There have been numerous delays in getting the computer software issue fixed and putting the aircraft back in the air with approval and certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.
And that, pilots say, is the issue.
As part of the suit filed on Monday, the pilots accused Boeing of misleading Southwest’s labor union about the status of the plane. As such, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said the planes’ grounding has cost its pilots more than $100 million in lost income, which it wants Boeing to pay. With the planes grounded, the pilots have had far less hours in the air and Southwest has had far less opportunities to simply transfer the
Southwest operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet, including 34 new 737 MAX planes and dozens more ordered. The airline has more 737 MAX aircraft than any other U.S. airline.
The pilots union said it was told by Boeing that the aircraft “was airworthy and essentially the same as the time-tested 737 aircraft that its pilots have flown for years,” the union said in a release. “These representations were false.”
Southwest has removed the 737 MAX from its schedules until early January.
The suit was filed in federal court in Dallas.
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