MIAMI – There’s another salvo today in the ongoing Boeing 737 MAX saga. Czech airline Smartwings (QS) is suing Boeing for damages done to its business by the grounding of the aircraft.
The Seattle Times reports that that QS originally filed the suit in Chicago, home of Boeing’s corporate headquarters. But a judge moved the case to Kings County Superior Court in Seattle.
According to the Times report, QS is requesting compensation for financial losses incurred during the grounding. It also want to return a jet and receive a refund of the payments given to Boeing, along with advance payments made on additional planes.
The airline says Boeing persuaded it to become an all-MAX airline. To that end, it ordered eight 737 MAXs directly from Boeing and agreed to lease an additional 31. Boeing delivered the first of those purchases to Smartwings in January 2018, and the airline acquired six more on lease right off the assembly line.
But those planes quickly went to various storage locations as the type was grounded. The Times says that at one point, Boeing was storing 13 undelivered Smartwings 737 MAX planes. Now, most of those aircraft have been redirected to other airlines.
In the lawsuit, QS says that by simply upgrading the MAX software, “Boeing chose a cheap and hastily implemented bandaid” rather than more expensive aerodynamic changes to the airframe.
The airline also says that Boeing did not conduct a full safety evaluation of the failure modes of the software, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, and then “misled the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators regarding the nature and purpose of MCAS.”
The lawsuit also accuses Boeing of “material misrepresentations and nondisclosures” to pilots and QS for not identifying and notifying them of the existence of MCAS before the first crash and of “gross negligence and fraud.”
“Smartwings would not have committed to an all-MAX fleet or accepted delivery of any MAX had it known what has since been uncovered by outside investigators and what Boeing has grudgingly admitted,” the complaint states.
Boeing has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Featured image: Smartwings OK-SWM Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Pablo Gonzalez/Airways