More than 400 pilots who flew the Boeing 737 MAX are suing the manufacturer, accusing the company of putting corporate profit above aviation safety with an “unprecedented cover-up” of “known design flaws” with the plane. The lawsuit claims that the pilots’ income and career certainty have been badly affected as a result of the grounding of the plane.

An anonymous plaintiff, known as “Pilot X”, filed a class-action lawsuit against Boeing on behalf of more than 400 pilots who work for the same airline and have flown the 737 MAX. In the lawsuit, the pilots claim they have suffered “financial and other losses” and have faced career uncertainty due to the worldwide grounding of the MAX planes. They are seeking compensation from the manufacturer for these losses, which, although not yet calculated, are “expected to be in the millions of dollars”.

“When regulators worldwide faced doubts about the safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX design, they [Boeing] acted decisively to ground the aircraft. Boeing’s failures effectively grounded a legion of pilots too,” said Joseph Wheeler, Principal and Legal Practice Director of IALPG, one of the law firms representing the pilots in the class-action in an official statement. “Many pilots worldwide have either been laid off, made to relocate bases, or at least suffered significant diminishment to flight opportunities and pay,” he added.

According to Wheeler, these pilots were not aware that the planes they had to fly had “defective equipment” and that the aircraft itself was “dangerously designed”. “Pilots trusted Boeing to sell a safe aircraft that they could manage in any emergency scenario, but that trust was clearly abused,” stated Patrick Jones, Managing Partner and Founder of PMJ PLLC, the other law firm participating in the class-action.

This reflects the claims made in the court documents, where pilots allege that Boeing "engaged in an unprecedented cover-up of the known design flaws of the MAX, which predictably resulted in the crashes of two MAX aircraft and subsequent grounding of all MAX aircraft worldwide," Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports.

The lawsuit was filed on June 21, 2019, at the time of the International Paris Airshow, “to send a message to Boeing”, that it cannot put aircraft sales above the safety of its pilots and passengers. Although this class action is the first lodged by 737 MAX pilots, it represents the latest group of those affected by the 737 MAX crisis and looking for compensation from the plane maker, including airlines and families of the victims of the two MAX crashes.