Boeing dismisses Southwest pilots claim for lost wages over 737 MAX grounding 

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The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), representing approximately 10,000 Southwest Airlines’ pilots, has filed a lawsuit against Boeing Co alleging that the grounding of the 737 MAX has cost its pilots over US$100 million in lost wages. In a statement, SWAPA said the lawsuit states that its pilots had agreed to fly 737 MAX jets based on Boeing’s representations they were airworthy and similar to previous, “time-tested” 737 models they had been flying for many years, adding: “These representations were false.” Chaz Bickers, a Boeing spokesman, commented that: “While we value our long relationship with SWAPA, we believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it.”

Southwest Airlines has a current fleet of 34 of the grounded 737 MAX jets and has a further 41 on order. The consequence has seen the airline cancel up to 100 flights per day and reduce flying hours for pilots. “It is critical that Boeing takes whatever time is necessary to safely return the MAX to service,” said SWAPA president, Captain Jon Weaks. He added that pilots “should not be expected to take a significant and ever-expanding financial loss as a result of Boeing’s negligence.”

SWAPA has estimated that the 737 MAX grounding has seen more than 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights cancelled, which will result in the carrier’s passenger service reduced by 8% by the end of 2019. Southwest pilots are not the only ones looking for compensation for lost flying hours as American Airlines Group pilots have also demanded compensation from Boeing, though as yet have not filed any lawsuit.

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