Boeing grabs first deal for grounded 737 Max in months

Nellie Chapman
October 9, 2019

Governments and airlines around the world have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts since March after two crashes within six months of each other - in October 2018 and March 2019 - that killed a total of 346 people.

Boeing's troubles are deepening as the grounding of its 737 Max jetliner approaches the seven-month mark. "We have to be able to trust Boeing to truthfully disclose the information we need to safely operate our aircraft". The union called that assertion "false".

Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said: "While we value our long relationship with SWAPA, we believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it".

SWAPA, which represents around 10,000 Southwest pilots, said it filed the lawsuit in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas.

The U.S. aviation regulator said in a statement it is continuing "our review of changes to software on the Boeing 737 MAX".

In return, Boeing will receive new shares in Virgin Galactic, which plans to go public this year by way of a business combination with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp (IPOA).

Southwest is the largest operator of the 737 MAX, and the aircraft may not return to passenger service until 2020.

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Separately, a $50 million (40.9 million pounds) Boeing assistance fund that announced September 23 it would pay each family $144,500 in the two deadly crashes has already paid three of the five claims submitted to date, the fund's co-administrator, Camille Biros, told Reuters on Monday. Yet, "it is critical that Boeing takes whatever time is necessary to safely return the MAX to service", added Captain Weaks.

In boosting Dreamliner output to a month-to-month tempo of 14 jets, Boeing executives predicted a wave of orders to exchange ageing twin-aisle plane beginning within the early 2020s.

Boeing delivered a total of 63 commercial aircraft in the third quarter of 2019, nose-diving by two-thirds from the figure of 193 a year ago.

The issue is separate from changes to the aircraft's faulty Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) but related to an emergency procedure that can be used by pilots to address the plane's system malfunctions.

In October of past year, 189 people were killed when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea, 13 minutes into the flight.

Southwest Airlines Co is scheduling without the MAX until at least early January, pending regulatory approval for commercial flight.

SWAPA is also objecting to the fact that the grounding of the MAX has caused the airline to cancel some 30,000 flights.

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