The pilots union of Southwest Airlines, a key airline at Long Island MacArthur Airport, is suing Boeing for misleading the airline and its pilots about the 737 Max aircraft.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association on Oct. 7 filed a lawsuit in District Court of Dallas County, Texas, saying that its pilots “agreed to fly the 737 MAX aircraft based on Boeing’s representations that it was airworthy” and essentially the same as other 737 aircraft its pilots flew.
“These representations were false,” according to the union. “Boeing’s errors cost the lives of 346 people, damaged the critical bond between pilots and passengers and reduced opportunities for air travel across the United States and around the world.”
The union said that the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft led to the elimination of 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights.
That is expected to reduce the airline’s passenger service by 8 percent as of the end of this year, which the union said would cost Southwest pilots more than $100 million.
“As pilots, there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers,” Captain Jonathan Weaks, the union’s president, said. “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.”
The union said Southwest is the largest operator of the 737 MAX, an aircraft not expected to return to passenger service until the first quarter of 2020.
“It is critical that Boeing takes whatever time is necessary to safely return the MAX to service,” Weaks said. “Our pilots should not be expected to take a significant and ever-expanding financial loss as a result of Boeing’s negligence.”
The Dallas, Texas-based Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is a non-profit employee organization and the sole bargaining unit for Southwest Airlines’ more than 9,700 pilots.