Does Boeing Owe Pilots Compensation Over the 737 MAX Fiasco?

Published: 10-07-2019
Negligence in safety. Grounded aircraft. Lost hours. How does it all add up?

Boeing is in hot water over the 737 MAX fiasco which included, but isn’t limited to, accusations of negligence in regards to safety. As a result, a few companies have filed a lawsuit against Boeing.

Boeing's decision to withhold important operating details, such as the point-of-attack sensor not being auto-included at purchase, is at the heart of these lawsuits.

And now pilots are demanding action – and compensation – from Boeing.

Grounded Airplanes Means Fewer Flights and Less Money

Last week, the pilot union of American Airlines Group, or AAL.O, announced they are filing a lawsuit against Boeing. In the claim, AAL.O states pilots lost major revenue when the FAA determined all 737 Max airplanes were to be grounded.

Although this decision was in the safety interests of both crew and passengers, over a hundred flights were canceled per day as a result. And as you may well know through first-hand experience, fewer flights results in fewer opportunities for pilots to make money.

But should pilots actually be compensated for the loss in profits? How do the numbers add up?

The Deal Between American Airlines and AA Pilots

According to Captain Eric Ferguson, President of the Allied Pilots Association, or APA, "The effect has been real and calculable".

He went on to say the pilots of the APA seek a portion of the reimbursement if American Airlines wins the lawsuit against Boeing.

Chief Executive of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, already promised to share any compensation with Southwest pilots. That said, if AA opts to exclude pilots from receiving any reimbursement, do pilots have grounds to pursue their own case against Boeing?

Let’s take a look at the facts.

  • Grounded 737 Max airplanes forced airlines to reschedule pilots for other routes.
  • Transitioning between different aircrafts may require additional operation training
  • Undergoing airplane specific training means less flight hours logged
  • Fewer available flights reduces opportunities for pilots to make money

Taking everything mentioned above into consideration, you can probably estimate how many flying hours were potentially lost each day. Now, stretch the number of hours lost by roughly six months worth of operation. That’s a lot of lost flying time.

And that total loss is due to Boeing’s negligence. All pilots affected by the airplane manufacturer’s poor business decision in regards to the 737 Max should be entitled to compensation from Boeing.

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