737 Max: Families of Ethiopian Airlines victims sue Boeing

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The families of Canadians killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash have launched a lawsuit against plane maker Boeing.

Lawyers in Chicago have filed the suit on behalf of a Brampton, Ontario family that lost six members and a man who lost his Hamilton-based wife and three young children, reported news agency Associated Press.

Lawyers for the families behind the lawsuit allege Boeing was blinded by greed as it rushed its 737 Max 8 jets to market, claiming the company put profits over safety. “Blinded by its greed, Boeing haphazardly rushed the 737 Max 8 to market, with the knowledge and tacit approval of the United States Federal Aviation Administration while Boeing actively concealed the nature of the automated system defects,” they alleged.

The families have also filed a claim against the US Federal Aviation Administration, alleging the regulator enabled the plane’s rush to market.

The suits allege Boeing leadership was worried about losing market share to its main rival, Airbus, so it sought to push forward a modified version of the 737 airplanes. The modifications, rather than an entirely new design, allowed pilots to operate the 737 Max 8s “without extensive simulation time or retraining,” the claims said.

However, the suits allege, the goal of a more fuel-efficient plane included larger engines that had to be relocated, which then forced the landing gear to be moved forward. Pilots operating the older 737s found the Max 8s “would ascend faster and at a higher angle, increasing the risk of a stall,” the suits claim.

To deal with the issue, the company installed a new automated flight control system that would help compensate for the issue of climbing too fast, the suits said. The system based its information on a single sensor on the fuselage that would detect the angle of the plane, they said.

The allegations have not been proven in court. Boeing said it could not comment on the lawsuits.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302,” spokesman Paul R. Bergman said in a statement. “Boeing continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available.”

All 157 people on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were killed when the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed on March 10.

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