Filed in the District Court of Dallas County, the lawsuit includes pilots that suggest Boeing deliberately mislead the airline and its pilots about the 737 MAX.
SWAPA states the 737 MAX grounding has forced Southwest to cancel more than 30,000 scheduled flights, resulting in $100 Million of lost wages for pilots.
Being the largest operator of the 737 MAX at the time of both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, Southwest pilots were assigned to fly the aircraft based on Boeing’s statements that the aircraft was airworthy and it was essentially the same as previous generation 737 aircraft.
“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.”Captain Jonathan L. Weaks, President of SWAPA
Additionally, SWAPA claims the 737 MAX crisis has resulted in a poor bond between pilots and passengers and has reduced opportunities for air travel within the United States and around the world.
Discussions between SWAPA and Boeing have been ongoing since September however no deals have been made, sparking this lawsuit.
Citing Reuters, Boeing spokesperson Chaz Bickers issued the following statement on the situation with SWAPA:
“While we value our long relationship with SWAPA, we believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it.”
Complicating the merit of this case is the fact that Boeing is already holding talks with airlines about compensation and Southwest is one of them.
Southwest has predicted the grounding of the 737 MAX will cost them $225 Million and has already stated that they are willing to share some of the compensation with employees.
“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.”Captain Jonathan L. Weaks, President of SWAPA
SWAPA represents over 10,000 pilots flying for Southwest Airlines and has been working with the airline on significant schedule changes.
So far, Southwest has removed the 737 MAX from service until early January pending regulatory approval for commercial operations. 41 737 MAX aircraft were expected to be delivered to the airline this year.
Boeing is working tirelessly to try and return the aircraft to service during the fourth quarter of this year, however the crucial component being the regulators have yet to reach a conclusion on how they will agree on the “all clear”.
Do you think more unions/airlines will follow this path?