By: AirTravellerPH Staff
More trouble for Boeing! The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) has filed a lawsuit versus Boeing for US$100-million for deliberately misleasing pilots about the 737 Max. Southwest is the largest operator of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft with 34 Max 8 on its present and orders of 246 Max 8 and 30 Max 7 jets. SWAPA represents around 10,000 pilots of Southwest Airlines.
The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded all around the world after the fatal crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Air involving the said aircraft where 346 lives were lost. In a report by One Mile at a Time, the lawsuit indicates that the pilots were allowed to fly the 737 Max based on Boeing's airthorthiness representation and that is is the same as the previous 737 models.
SWAPA President Capt. Jonathan Weaks says, "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. 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 on the other hand is negotiating with its largest 737 customer on how they can compensate for the damages. "Boeing has the greatest respect for the men and women who fly for Southwest Airlines," the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement. "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 meritless and will vigorously defend against it."
So far, investigations are pointing out to the Manoeuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a software system that gives the 737 Max the same flying characteristics of the 737NG. The Max uses larger diameter engines that Boeing decided to mount them forward of the wing, and even higher. Based on investigations, this design would increase the angle-of-attack, hence, the MCAS was designed to bring the pitch down automatically by adjusting the horizontal stabilizer trim. The cause of the two crashes are being pointed out to wrong inputs by the MCAS sensor.
The lawsuit also states that Boeing rushed the certification of the 737 Max under the same aircraft type as the 737NG (New Generation), the previous 737 model. The lawsuit also adds Boeing's false representations about safety made directly to SWAPA. It caused the association to agree to include the Max as a term in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Southwest, despite "initial reluctance."
In a report by Flightglobal, the lawsuit says, ""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. In doing so, Boeing abandoned sound design and engineering practices, withheld safety critical information from regulators and deliberately mislead its customers, pilots and the public about the true scope of design changes to the 737 Max."
On the otherhand, Boeing has responded to the lawsuit saying it is meritless and will vigorously defend itself.