Boeing reaches agreement for most Lion Air 737 MAX crash claims

Kittikun Yoksap

A court filing revealed that Boeing reached agreements to settle most of the complaints filed regarding the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 that killed 189 people in October 2018. More than 90% of the claims have been addressed.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seen by Reuters, Boeing revealed that claims for 171 of the 189 people on board had been addressed. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Many of the lawsuits blamed Boeing for not telling pilots about the MCAS system that was determined as the main cause for the crash of the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX. They denounced the lack of safety in the plane design and certification, as well as the insufficient information provided to the pilots and operators. 

Their accusations were recently confirmed by an investigation of the Inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The investigation found that the MCAS was presented as a simple update of the already existing speed trim system that would not activate often, and therefore that it “did not receive a more detailed review or discussion between FAA engineers and Boeing.”

Following the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 five months later, the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft family was globally grounded. Since then, the manufacturer has updated the MCAS system and is awaiting recertification from the FAA and other world regulators. A three-day flight campaign testing the MCAS was carried out on June 30, 2020.

However, following 14 months of grounding and the crisis in the air industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic, operators have grown impatient and money-savvy. On June 29, 2020, the low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle canceled all its pending orders for 92 737 MAX. The Irish-based lessor Avolon reduced its orderbook by another 27 of the jets on July 7, 2020, after already canceling 75 of them in April 2020. In total, 313 Boeing 737 MAX orders were canceled in 2020.


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