Nov 14, 2019

Southwest pilots' union head blasts Boeing over handling of 737 MAX

Southwest Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Southwest Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Jon Weaks, the president of Southwest Airlines' pilot union, on Wednesday accused Boeing of pressuring regulators to fast-track the ungrounding of the 737 MAX aircraft in a memo to the union's members.

"Boeing will never, and should not ever, be given the benefit of the doubt again. The combination of arrogance, ignorance, and greed should and will haunt Boeing for eternity."

The big picture: The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the aircraft eight months ago following two fatal crashes, and federal regulators have since been reviewing proposed software fixes for the 737 MAX's flight control system.

  • Weaks criticized Boeing executives for repeatedly pushing the negative consequences of the plane's grounding on the company's production line, saying there "is some concern that this is simply another tactic to push the [return to service] timeline up."

Between the lines: Weaks also said he supports Southwest airline adopting a non-Boeing aircraft to replace the 737 MAX.

  • Southwest Airlines has flown only Boeing 737 aircraft for 50 years and has largest delivered fleet of 737 MAX planes in the world — with hundreds more on order.
  • The pilots' union filed suit against Boeing last month, claiming that it has lost money over cancelled flights due to the 737 MAX's grounding, per the AP.

The other side: "We look forward to working with pilots, flight attendants and our airline customers to re-earn their trust," Boeing said in a statement to Business Insider.

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