More than 400 pilots have joined a class action against American plane manufacturer Boeing, seeking damages in the millions over what they allege was the company's "unprecedented cover-up" of the "known design flaws" of the latest edition of its top-selling jet, the 737 MAX.
Boeing's 737 MAX series— first announced in 2011 and put to service in 2017 — is the fourth generation of its 737 aircraft, a widely popular narrow-body aircraft model that has been a mainstay of short-haul aircraft routes across the globe.
By March 2019, the entire global fleet was suspended by a US presidential decree, following the second fatal crash involving a 737 MAX that killed 157 people in Ethiopia.
The first crash involving the 737 MAX jet happened off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189 people.
In the time since the two fatal crashes, some of the families of the 346 people killed have sought compensation, while aircraft carriers — such as Norwegian Air — have sought compensation from the American manufacturer for lost revenue as a result of the plane's global ban.
This latest lawsuit filed against Boeing marks the first class-action lodged by pilots qualified to fly the 737 MAX series, who have alleged that Boeing's decisions have caused them to suffer from monetary loss and mental distress since the jet's suspension.
The originating plaintiff, known as Pilot X —who has chosen to remain anonymous for "fear of reprisal from Boeing and discrimination from Boeing customers" — lodged the statement of claim on Friday, which seeks damages for them and more than 400 colleagues who work for the same airline.
In court documents seen by the ABC, the claim alleges 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."
They argue that they "suffer and continue to suffer significant lost wages, among other economic and non-economic damages" since the fleet's global grounding.
The class action will be heard in a Chicago court, with a hearing date set for October 21, 2019. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the ABC website.