Southwest pilot union SWAPA sues Boeing over 737 MAX groundings

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Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), which represents over 9,000 Southwest pilots, is suing Boeing for “deliberately misleading the organization and its pilots” regarding the airworthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX.

SWAPA filed the case with the District Court of Dallas County, Texas. The lawsuit alleges that the groundings have cost over $100 million in compensations for Southwest Pilots. This is due to the fact that the airline expects to transfer 8% fewer passengers in 2019, as it had to cancel over 30,000 flights since aviation authorities grounded the 737 MAX in March 2019.

Besides costly losses, the lawsuit also claims that Boeing falsely represented the fact that the 737 MAX was “the same as the time-tested 737 aircraft” and was an airworthy jet. But “these representations were false”, as the design mistakes “cost the lives of 346 people”, hurt the “critical bond” between pilots and passengers and impaired opportunities for “air travel across the United States and around the world”, according to the lawsuit.

In total, SWAPA filed six claims in the case. The union is accusing Boeing of:

1.     Fraudulent misrepresentation;

2.     Negligent misrepresentation;

3.     Tortious interference with contractual rights and relationship;

4.     Tortious interference with an existing business relationship;

5.     Negligence.

6.     Fraud by non-disclosure

The pilot association “demands a trial by jury” and in turn appeals for Boeing to pay out the lost compensation, which SWAPA “has incurred and is continuing to incur” and to pay legal fees related to the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations. The union also demands that the manufacturer pays pre-judgment interest and “other relief”, which SWAPA would be entitled to if the Court deems it just and proper.

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers”, said President of SWAPA, Captain Jonathan L. Weaks. He insisted that Boeing needs to “safely disclose information” for pilots to be able to safely fly the aircraft, which “in case of the 737 MAX, that absolutely did not happen”, Weaks added.

The President of the union still is looking forward to “a solution that helps Boeing restore the confidence of both the flying public and the pilots“ flying the 737 MAX. SWAPA joins a long list of airlines and other parties looking to claim compensation related to the 737 MAX crisis, including eight Southwest Airlines (LUV) passengers.


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