SYDNEY, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- A class action lawsuit against American aviation giant Boeing now has 3,000 pilots from 12 international airlines onboard, said the Australian newspaper on Tuesday.
Filed to the United States District Court in Illinois on June 21, the action led by Australia's International Aerospace Law and Policy Group (IALPG), in partnership with American firm PMJ PLLC, is seeking "compensatory and punitive damages" from Boeing for losses stemming from design issues and failures to warn pilots in the lead up to two major disasters.
Concerns about Boeing's 737 Max aircraft were first brought to public light in October last year, when a domestic Lion Air flight in Indonesia crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board.
In March 2019, a second Boeing 737 MAX operated by Ethiopian Airlines in Africa and bound for Kenya's Nairobi also went down moments after takeoff, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members.
With aviation experts around the world fearing the aircraft's newly installed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which automatically lowers the nose of the plane in the event of an imminent stall, could be at fault, a number of countries took steps to ground the aircraft for safety concerns.
"When regulators worldwide faced doubts about the safety of Boeing's 737 MAX design, they acted decisively to ground the aircraft," Principal and Legal Practice Director of IALPG Joseph Wheeler said.
"Boeing's failures effectively grounded a legion of pilots too - pilots who were not aware that the equipment they had to fly was defective and dangerously designed.
"Many pilots worldwide have either been laid off, made to relocate bases, or at least suffered significant diminishment to flight opportunities and pay."
While the identity of the parties involved remains confidential, Wheeler said "the combined claims are now estimated to be worth as much as 368 million Australian (248 million U.S. dollars) dollars."