More than 400 pilots of Boeing 737 Max are suing the company for an “unprecedented cover-up” of “known design flaws” in the plane’s.
The pilots join a slew of other groups affected by 737 Max crisis, including airline pilots, airlines, and victims’ families in looking for damages from Boeing after the two deadly crashes involving the Max.
The lawsuit alleges Boeing introduced angle of attack correction software that made planes inherently vulnerable to faulty sensor readings, and pilots were never informed about its functionality.
The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) reported Saturday that the lawsuit filed Friday, alleged that Boeing engaged in an “unprecedented cover-up” of the “known design flaws” in the 737 Max planes, which were grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes that killed more than 300 people in total.
The lawsuit also alleges that Boeing, rushing to roll out the planes, did not alert pilots to the MCAS software in order to prevent “any new training that required a simulator,” the ABC report says. According to the lawsuit, this was done so that its customers could deploy pilots on “revenue-generating routes as quickly as possible”.
The lawsuit was filed against Boeing “for financial and other losses arising from the circumstances and grounding of the MAX fleet,” according to the two law firms representing the pilots, based in Chicago and Australia.
The law firms said that this “adversely affected” pilots’ income and gave them career uncertainty, and that they were filing the lawsuit during the Paris Air Show “to send a message to Boeing that its desire for aircraft sales must never again impact on aviation safety.”
While they said that they could not yet calculate the size of pilots’ losses, they “are expected to be in the millions of dollars,” the law firms said.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit claims that the Boeing 737 MAX has an “inherently dangerous aerodynamic handling defect.” They state that Boeing retrofitted newer, larger engines onto an older airframe, and the new engine’s size and shape caused the aircraft to pitch up during flight, posing a risk of crash due to aerodynamic stall.
Two of the aircraft, belonging to Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, crashed in 29 October 2018 and 10 March 2019, respectively, killing 346 people total.
The case is set to be heard by a court in Chicago on October 21, according to ABC. The lawsuit’s original plaintiff, identified only as “pilot X” due to the plaintiff’s fears of reprisal from Boeing officials and customers, filed the suit Friday reportedly seeking millions in damages.
Boeing officials declined to comment to ABC on Saturday regarding the lawsuit.