Major Chinese airline demands compensation from Boeing over 737 MAX grounding

China Eastern Airlines has requested compensation from the US aerospace giant Boeing over financial damages the carrier had to sustain over the compulsory grounding and suspended delivery of 737 MAX aircraft since March.

“The grounding of 737 MAX aircraft since March 11, 2019 has caused relatively big losses to China Eastern. With the passing of time, related losses will further expand,” the state-run People’s Daily cited the company as saying. “At the same time, delayed deliveries of planes ordered by China Eastern also caused economic losses.”

The Shanghai-based airline didn’t specify precisely how large the required compensation is. The company is reportedly closely monitoring Boeing’s work to fix safety risks of its 737 MAX aircraft.

The carrier had to stop operating its 14 MAX jets after the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) halted the commercial operations of all Boeing 737 MAX planes in the country for an indefinite period, citing safety concerns. The measure was triggered by the second fatal accident involving Boeing’s best-selling aircraft in five months.

Boeing’s flagship plane crashed on March 10 not far from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa six minutes after takeoff on the way to Nairobi, Kenya, killing 157 people. It was the second deadly crash involving the same jet model in less than six months. In October, the same type of aircraft, operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air, crashed in the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, claiming the lives of 189 people.

Last week, media reports emerged that China’s airline majors, including Air China, China Southern and China Eastern Airlines were considering teaming up to seek legal compensation for the disruption caused by the global grounding.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, which was the last official body to ground the troubled jet on a nationwide scale, is currently hosting a conference for the world’s aviation regulators. The event is intended to review software and propose pilot training for Boeing’s customers before deciding whether to end the two-month grounding.

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