Southwest pilots sue Boeing over 737 Max groundings: Company 'deliberately' misled

Southwest pilots sue Boeing over 737 Max groundings: Company 'deliberately' misled
© Greg Nash

The union that represents Southwest Airlines pilots is suing Boeing, holding the company responsible for what it says is $115 million pilots have lost due to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes, according to USA Today.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association filed the lawsuit on Monday in Dallas, accusing the company of negligence and fraudulent misrepresentation when it pitched the Max as “essentially the same as the time-tested 737 aircraft” pilots were already familiar with.

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Southwest has an all-Boeing fleet, including 34 of the Max model, which was grounded nationwide in March after two fatal crashes linked to similar defects. Preliminary investigations have indicated the two crashes, which collectively killed over 300 people, were tied to a new automated control system in which the pilots were not properly trained.

"Boeing made a calculated decision to rush a re-engined aircraft to market to secure its single-aisle market share and prioritize its bottom line,'' the lawsuit says, according to USA Today.

"In doing so, Boeing abandoned sound design and engineering practices, withheld critical safety information from regulators and deliberately mislead its customers, pilots and the public about the true scope of design changes to the 737 MAX,” it added.

The lawsuit claims Boeing refused to provide compensation when the union sought it from the company. It further asserts Southwest has had to cancel more than 30,000 flights due to the Max grounding.

Boeing spokesman Peter Pedraza told the newspaper the company considers the lawsuit “meritless,” adding, “We will continue to work with Southwest Airlines and its pilots on efforts to safely return the MAX to service.”

The Hill has reached out to Boeing for further comment.