Boeing deliveries nearly halved in first nine months of 2019

Southwest Pilots Sue Boeing Over Alleged Lost Wages From MAX Grounding

Southwest Pilots Sue Boeing Over Alleged Lost Wages From MAX Grounding

Trailing far behind the 571 aircraft handed over by European rival Airbus SE in the first nine months of 2019, Boeing delivered just 302 aircraft in the period, down 47%. Before the crashes, the plane accounted for almost 70% of Boeing's overall commercial aircraft deliveries, and 30% of its total operating profit.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said in the lawsuit filed Monday that Boeing misled pilots and airlines by not telling them about a new flight-control system called MCAS that is now at the center of investigations into the accidents.

Within the third quarter, Boeing delivered 63 jetliners, down from 190 jet shipments a 12 months earlier.

Southwest is the biggest United States operator of MAX aircraft and the union estimates the plane's grounding has caused the cancellation of 30,000 scheduled flights.

"Looking forward, we continue to target regulatory approval for the 737 MAX return to service this quarter, though it's the FAA and other global regulators who ultimately will determine the timeline", a Boeing spokesman said.

Boeing has repeatedly said it hopes to resume flights in 2019's fourth quarter, which began October 1. The first, in October of past year, killed 189 when the Lion Air jet crashed into the sea offshore of Indonesia.

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that it has a "transparent and collaborative relationship" with other civil aviation authorities as it continues its 737 MAX safety review, while its European Union counterpart said it was in "continuous contact" with both the FAA and Boeing.

"We do not at this stage have any specific concerns. that would mean that we could not agree to a coordinated return to service", the EASA says.

"As pilots, there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers", SWAPA president Captain Jonathan Weaks said.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told Reuters in September the agency would need about a month following a yet-to-be scheduled certification test flight before the planes could return to service. In June, the parent of British Airways announced a commitment to buy 200 Max jets, but Boeing has not yet booked those orders, indicating that the deal isn't final.

Analysts are projecting much lower 2019 profits for Boeing following the big drop in sales. In addition to the 34 Max aircraft Southwest had when the plane was grounded, the airline expected another 41 to be delivered and had built its flight schedule around that. United Airlines has canceled 90 daily flights due to the 737 MAX until December 19.

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