By Stacey Leasca
October 09, 2019

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) filed a lawsuit on Monday against Boeing for allegedly lying about the safety of its 737 Max jets. The union is asking for $100 million.

The union, USA Today reported, said Boeing was negligent and fraudulent in misrepresenting its aircraft. It came to the $100 million mark due to a steep reduction in flights, which cost pilots millions in compensation.

"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,'' part of the complaint reads. "In doing so, Boeing abandoned sound design and engineering practices, withheld critical safety information from regulators and deliberately mislead (sic) its customers, pilots and the public about the true scope of design changes to the 737 MAX.''

The lawsuit comes a year after two of Boeing’s Max 737s crashed, killing 346 people on two separate flights. In October of 2018, a Lion Air flight crashed in Indonesia, killing everyone on board. A few months later, in March of 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight also crashed in an eerily similar incident, again killing all those on board. Immediately following the Ethiopian crash airlines and entire nations began to ground the aircraft until finally, all 737 Max planes around the world were no longer in service.

According to the Union, pilots willingly signed off on the new planes because Boeing told them the aircraft was "essentially the same as the time-tested 737 aircraft that its pilots have flown for years." The union noted, "These representations were false.”

In a statement provided to reporters, Captain Jonathan 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.

Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

It is critical that Boeing takes whatever time is necessary to safely return the MAX to service. 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.”

In response to the lawsuit, Boeing said, "We believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it." It added, "We will continue to work with Southwest Airlines and its pilots on efforts to safely return the Max to service.”

Beyond this potential lawsuit, Boeing will also pay $4.9 billion to airlines forced to ground the planes, and will soon begin paying victim’s families from the two crashes as well.

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