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Southwest pilots hit Boeing with $US100m MAX lawsuit for lost wages

According to SWAPA, the lawsuit says "that SWAPA pilots agreed to fly the 737 MAX aircraft based on Boeing's representations that it was airworthy and essentially the same as the time-tested 737 aircraft that its pilots have flown for years".

The complaint alleges Boeing chose to "rush" the 737 MAX to market for the sake of profits and in doing so, "abandoned sound design and engineering practices, withheld safety information from regulators and deliberately misled its customers, pilots and the public" about design changes from previous versions of the 737 aircraft. "We are in continuous contact with both the FAA and Boeing", a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) spokeswoman said by email.

The lawsuit, filed in a Texas state court in Dallas, could make it harder for Boeing to gain public confidence in the plane. While we value our long relationship with SWAPA, we believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it.

Boeing also played down design changes in the Max to convince regulators and airlines that time-consuming training wasn't needed because the plane was an update to the previous model, the 737 Next Generation, the lawsuit said.

USA and European Union regulators said on Tuesday they were still reviewing Boeing Co's changes to 737 MAX software after two fatal crashes, throwing into question the speed at which the grounded aircraft can return to service. Parking its 34 Max planes and failure to get new ones on order has cut at least $225 million from the airline's operating income and caused tens of thousands of flight cancellations.

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More than 30,000 flights have been grounded by Southwest, which has resulted in an 8% decrease in service in 2019, and thus the $100 million in lost compensation, according to the SWAPA.

Capt. Weaks said it was critical that Boeing took whatever time was necessary to return the plane to service.

Boeing Co. secured the first new order in months for one of its grounded 737 Max planes in September, the company said on Tuesday, as it reported total deliveries for the first nine months of 2019 that were just half those a year ago.

Boeing has already taken a huge financial hit from its troubles with the 737 MAX. "In the case of the 737 MAX, that absolutely did not happen", said SWAPA president, Captain Jon Weaks. In July, it announced a $4.9 billion after-tax charge to cover compensation it expects to pay airlines in coming years to cover canceled flights.

"Boeing has the greatest respect for the men and women who fly for Southwest Airlines", Boeing said in a statement.



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