Association, representing 10,000 pilots, seeking compensation for lost earnings

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) has filed a lawsuit against Boeing seeking damages for lost earnings following the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX in March.

The lawsuit has been filed in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas, where Southwest Airlines is based. The association is representing 10,000 pilots and has alleged that Boeing deliberately misled both Southwest Airline and its pilots that the 737 Max aircraft was airworthy. The complaint adds that the manufacturer claimed the aircraft was not significantly different from the previous generation 737NG aircraft.

According to SWAPA, the grounding of the 737 MAX has caused the elimination of more than 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights. This is expected to reduce the airline’s passenger service by 8 per cent by the end of 2019, resulting in a loss in excess of $100 million for SWAPA’s pilots.

Largest 737 fleet in service

Southwest has the largest 737 MAX fleet in service out of any global airline. The aircraft is not expected to return to passenger service until the first quarter of 2020. Captain Jonathan L Weaks, President of SWAPA, said: “As pilots, there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers. 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.”

“It is critical that Boeing takes whatever time is necessary to safely return the MAX to service,” added Captain Weaks. “Our pilots should not be expected to take a significant and ever-expanding financial loss as a result of Boeing’s negligence. We look forward to a solution that helps Boeing restore the confidence of both the flying public and the pilots who operate its aircraft.”

Boeing is currently in negotiation with airlines with regards to compensation they are expected to receive as a result of the long grounding.

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