Smartwings Sues Boeing Over Grounded 737 MAX Losses

William Malcolm

Smartwings Sues Boeing Over Grounded 737 MAX Losses

Czech aviation group Smartwings has filed a lawsuit against aircraft manufacturer Boeing after failing to reach a settlement for losses incurred due to the forced grounding of its seven Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Aviation authorities halted the operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft worldwide last year after two tragic accidents attributed to a software problem. The Smartwings group said in March this year that the shutdown caused losses worth CZK 2 billion.

Smartwings filed a lawsuit against Boeing in early August in a court in the US state of Illinois, where the aircraft manufacturer is based. “After a long negotiation that lasted a year and a quarter and was unsuccessful, we filed a lawsuit against the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing,” confirmed LN Smartwings spokeswoman Vladimíra Dufková.

Smartwings did not say how much compensation they demanded. In March this year, a group spokesperson said that the damage caused by the shutdown of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft exceeded two billion crowns. Smartwings have seven of these aircraft, and another 15 were to be delivered to Smartwings by January of this year.

The Boeing 737 MAX was in the air for less than two years. It was put into commercial operation in May 2017. In October 2018, in Indonesia and March 2019 in Ethiopia, two of these stands crashed due to a problem with onboard software, killing 346 people.

Shortly after the second of these accidents, the Boeing 737 MAX was shut down worldwide. Last May, Boeing admitted that it had known about the software problem for about a year, but did not inform airlines or regulators. In a statement, the company insisted that this issue did not pose a security risk.