Smartwings Sues Boeing Over Grounded 737 MAX Losses

William Malcolm

Smartwings Sues Boeing Over 737 MAX Losses

Czech airline Smartwings filed suit against Boeing in Seattle on Tuesday for the damage to its business from the fatal crashes and subsequent grounding of the 737 MAX.

In the suit, moved to King County Superior Court from a court in Boeing’s headquarter city of Chicago, the airline is seeking compensation for the financial losses incurred as well as the return of one airplane and the refund of payments on that jet and advance payments on others, the Seattle Times reported.

Boeing declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Smartwings ordered eight MAXs directly from Boeing and agreed to lease an additional 31 MAXs. It took its first delivery of a MAX in January 2018 and took six more leased planes from the Renton assembly plant before the jet was grounded after the second crash in March 2019.

The complaint alleges that in implementing a software addition to the MAX’s flight controls, “Boeing chose a cheap and hastily implemented bandaid” rather than more expensive aerodynamic changes to the airframe.

Smartwings also claims Boeing failed to 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.”

After the first crash in 2018 of a Lion Air MAX in Indonesia, Smartwings officials wrote to Boeing demanding answers about the safety of the system but received no substantive response, the complaint said.