Southwest Pilots Sue Boeing Over Lost Wages During 737 MAX Grounding

The pilots claim they lost $100 million in wages when Boeing was forced to ground the jets following two fatal crashes.

The union representing Southwest Airlines pilots is suing Boeing over the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft, which it alleges resulted in over $100 million in lost wages.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association announced the lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas, on Monday. In it, the union alleges Boeing misrepresented the safety of the 737 MAX aircraft to Southwest pilots.

“SWAPA pilots agreed to fly the 737 MAX aircraft based on Boeing’s representations that it was airworthy and essentially the same as the time-tested 737 aircraft that its pilots have flown for years. These representations were false,” the union’s statement reads.

It continues: “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 737 MAX planes were grounded following two deadly crashes ― on Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights earlier this year ― along with a host of unresolved safety concerns.

SWAPA said that grounding caused the cancellation of 30,000 scheduled Southwest flights and wage losses of over $100 million for the airline’s pilots. 

In a statement to Reuters, Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said he believed the lawsuit was “meritless.”

“While we value our long relationship with SWAPA, we believe this lawsuit is meritless and will vigorously defend against it,” Bickers said.

Southwest customers filed a lawsuit against the airline and Boeing in July, alleging the two companies colluded to hide a design defect in the jet. The claim also accused Southwest of defrauding its customers and regulators, as well as its own pilots and employees.

SWAPA president Captain Jon Weaks said the pilots’ greatest concern is “the safety of our passengers” in a statement on Monday. 

“We have to be able to trust Boeing to truthfully disclose the information we need to safely operate our aircraft,” Weaks said. “In the case of the 737 MAX, that absolutely did not happen.”

Read the complaint below: