China Eastern Airlines to seek compensation from Boeing

By Zhu Bochen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 11, 2019
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An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft from Los Angeles lands at Washington Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C., the United States on March 13, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

China Eastern Airlines will seek compensation from Boeing for losses caused by its grounded 737 MAX jetliners, which it made public during a briefing on Tuesday. 

Based on information from the briefing, 14 Boeing 737 MAX planes of the China Eastern Airlines Cooperation have been grounded so far. This includes 11 planes operated by the Shanghai Airlines and another three by the Yunnan Airlines. 

The grounding didn't start until the end of the Spring Festival travel crunch, so there has been comparatively little negative influence on the transport capacity of the affected airlines, according to an executive from the carrier. 

Airbus' A320s have been deployed as the substitute for the grounded planes, the executive said. 

China Eastern Airlines believes that "the final result of our demand for compensation depends highly on whether it is a design flaw or maloperation that caused the grounding." 

The controversy surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX can first be traced back to an accident on Oct. 29, 2018, when a 737 MAX plane belonging to Lion Air crashed shortly after taking off from Indonesia. Around only five months later, on March 10 this year, an Ethiopian Airlines flight using the same aircraft crashed again. Both fatal accidents killed all the passengers on board. 

When investigations began to focus on the automatic safety system of the planes, Boeing promised to update the control system and later announced, with US aviation authorities, the decision to temporarily ground all 737 Max jetliners. 

Norwegian Air was the first airline to demand compensation publicly from Boeing on March 13. An increasing number of airlines have since joined in. 

The total amount of compensation being sought from Boeing is reported to have reached US$2 billion, and this number is expected to keep rising with the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

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