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Southwest Pilots Sue Boeing for Threatening “the Safety of Our Passengers”

Southwest Pilots Sue Boeing for Threatening “the Safety of Our Passengers”
Jackie Reddy

The Southwest Pilots Airlines Association (SWAPA) has confirmed that it will be suing Boeing amid accusations that the company misled staff over issues with its 737 MAX craft. SWAPA president Captain Jon Weaks said that Boeing did not “truthfully disclose” safety information pertaining to the craft.

The labor body representing Southwest Airlines pilots has confirmed that it has taken legal action against aircraft manufacturer Boeing amid accusations that the company “deliberately misled” the carrier over its 737 MAX craft, Reuters reports.

The Southwest Pilots Airlines Association (SWAPA) – which represents about 10,000 of the carrier’s pilots – has filed the suit in Texas, a copy of which can be viewed here. The airline is the largest operator of this type of craft, which has been grounded since earlier this year. The news agency reports that, at present, Southwest counts 34 737 MAX in its fleet.

Writing in a statement on the action, Captain Jonathan L. Weaks, SWAPA president, said, “The grounding of the MAX has now caused the elimination of more than 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights and – as so many members have noted – more than $100 million in real financial losses for us as pilots. With the MAX not scheduled to return to service until possibly the first quarter of 2020, these losses are continuing to grow at a rapid pace.”

“We have heard, and share, the serious concerns that so many of you have raised about Boeing’s actions, the effect this situation has had on passenger trust, and the significant financial impact it is having on our pilot group. That is why, for more than a month, SWAPA has been engaged in discussions with Boeing on ways to address this matter, particularly the loss of compensation that so many of our pilots have experienced,” he added.

In an official press release on the legal suit, Captain Weaks added, “As pilots, there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers. 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.”

Offering comments on behalf of Boeing, spokesperson Chaz Bickers was quoted by Reuters as saying, “While we value our long relationship with SWAPA, we believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it.”

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. bigjon1784

    October 9, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Great idea, hold Boeing accountable for an egregious failure to provide support to pilots operating an airplane without training on how to operate an very important system. The 300 plus that lost their lives depended on that and lost.

  2. strickerj

    October 9, 2019 at 6:56 am

    I could understand Southwest suing Boeing for loss of use while the 737 MAX fleet is grounded, but it strikes me as strange that the pilots’ union would have any claim to damages since Southwest hasn’t had a MAX crash. If they’re trying to claim what could have happened, that seems like a slippery slope…

  3. jybrick

    October 9, 2019 at 7:57 am

    I notice how the pilots’ representative’s first two paragraphs were about the financial impact on the pilots. Then, the third paragraph was about passenger safety. So this is just a money grab wrapped up in a feel-good ‘safety’ lawsuit.

  4. caljn

    October 10, 2019 at 11:29 am

    And now the “pickle forks”, with iconic American brands and America itself, It takes decades to build equity and reputation and a no time to trash them.
    Heads at the top must roll for the long process of reconstruction and re-establishing trust to commence.
    A very sad situation.

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