Chinese airlines demand compensation from Boeing for 737 Max grounding

Cathy Adams

Three Chinese airlines have filed compensation claims to Boeing over the grounding of the 737 Max fleet.

Air China, China Southern and China Eastern have formally asked for compensation from the American planemaker, according to reports.

They are seeking compensation for losses caused by the grounding as well as delayed deliveries of the troubled narrow-body jet.

The global fleet of 737 Max aircraft were grounded just days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash on 10 March, following a Lion Air crash in Indonesia involving the same plane type last October.

China was the first aviation authority to ground the plane; the US was the last.

“China has grounded 96 aircraft, which is about 4 per cent of its aeroplanes. The grounding causes huge losses for Chinese airlines,” China aviation expert Li Xiaojin told Reuters.

The compensation claims come the day before a meeting of global civil aviation regulators in Texas, where the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is expected to give an update on the safety upgrades to the Boeing 737 Max.

At the end of April, the Boeing CEO said that the 737 Max would be one of “the safest planes ever to fly” following the software upgrade to its anti-stall system.

In the annual general meeting for shareholders in Chicago, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg denied reports that the aircraft, involved in two deadly crashes over the past six months, was rushed to market.

Airlines including Tui and Ryanair have reported a fall in profits following the grounding of the doomed aircraft. European airline Norwegian has also said it would ask Boeing for compensation over the grounding of its 18 Max aircraft.