Polish flag air carrier sues Boeing over 737 Max groundings

Leszek Szymański/PAP

LOT, Poland's national airline, has sued the US aircraft maker Boeing in a court in Seattle, demanding damages of at least PLN 1 billion (USD 250 million) due to the grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft which LOT had purchased.

Design faults in the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a flight stabilising program, caused two crashes in which 346 people died, which led to a two-year-long worldwide grounding of the new planes.

The news concerning the lawsuit was confirmed by PAP through LOT spokesman Krzysztof Moczulski on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, a source told PAP the legal case had been preceded by months of negotiations with Boeing, which had not satisfied the Polish airline.

LOT ordered 15 Boeing 737 Max planes in total whose combined catalogue value was USD 1.8 billion. The first aircraft arrived in Poland in December 2017.

LOT says it could not use the aircraft from March 2019 to March 2021 due to regulators' decision to ground them. The Polish carrier had received five planes by the time the model was grounded and the remaining aircraft were delivered with a delay.

The Polish company argues it was forced to replace the aircraft with planes leased under emergency terms, which it says "significantly raised the carrier's operational costs."

Boeing is facing a series of litigations from other airlines as well. The 737 Max crisis took a heavy toll on the US company, with losses mounting up to billions of dollars, adverse effect on Boeing's reputation, airlines withdrawing orders on a mass scale and share price taking a strong hit. 

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