South African airline sues Boeing over 737 MAX purchase

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South African airline sues Boeing over 737 MAX purchase

A South African airline has sued Boeing Co for fraud over its agreement to buy eight 737 MAX planes and seeks damages of at least $83 million.

Comair filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday, claiming that Boeing put profits over safety and led with a plan of deception. Boeing didn't want to say anything.

Comair said Boeing committed fraud over its failure to disclose problems with a key flight control system that was linked to two fatal 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people and led to the MAX's 20 month grounding.

Comair operated flights for British Airways and its own brand Kulula.com until it stopped operations in June.

The airline said Boeing wouldn't return $45.2 million in advance payments it made on seven MAX planes. It had paid for and received a 737 MAX.

The Polish national airline PLL LOT sued Boeing in Seattle in late 2021 on similar grounds over 737 MAX purchases.

In October, LOT asked a U.S. judge in Texas to declare it was a crime victim in the Boeing 737 MAX criminal case, and said it has at least $250 million in damages.

In October, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that the people killed in two Boeing 737 MAX crashes are legal crime victims. LOT argued that it should have the same rights.

Last month, Boeing pleaded not guilty to a 737 MAX fraud conspiracy felony charge after families objected to a 2021 Justice Department deferred prosecution agreement to resolve the investigation into the plane's flawed design.

O'Connor had ordered the arraignment. O'Connor is considering appointing an independent examiner to oversee Boeing's compliance with the agreement, and families want to appoint an independent examiner. Boeing has been in compliance with the agreement for the last two years, and is opposed to the request.