In the dispute over 737 Max and 787 Norwegian takes Boeing to court. In the lawsuit, the airline accuses the aircraft manufacturer of misleading, fraud and breach of contract.
At the end of June, Norwegian had two pieces of bad news for Boeing: First, the airline airline cancelled 92 Boeing 737 Max and five Boeing 787. On the other hand, it announced that it would take legal action against the aircraft manufacturer, as no agreement had been reached so far in talks about compensation.
The severity of the airline’s accusations against the aircraft manufacturer is now shown by the 79-page statement of claim, which is available to aeroTELEGRAPH. Right at the beginning it says: «This lawsuit is based on gross negligence, fraud and breach of contract by Boeing.» The airline is claiming economic loss and is seeking compensation.
MCAS existence concealed
Norwegian describes in detail in the statement of claim how Boeing presented and advertised the 737 Max to the airline, and what has come out since the grounding about mistakes and omissions around the aircraft. The airline’s conclusion: «Boeing’s presentation of the Max was a pack of lies.»
For example, Norwegian explains about the flight control software MCAS, which played a central role in the 737 Max crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines: «Boeing has not disclosed the existence of MCAS to customers or pilots.» The aircraft manufacturer had «deliberately concealed» that the 737 Max had a balance problem due to the altered positioning of the engines, which made the software solution necessary.
Boeing 787 «operational disaster»
«Boeing has promised Norwegian and other customers that the Max is state-of-the-art,» it continues. «Boeing has never kept that promise, or even planned to.» In reality, the flight controls and cockpit layout of the 737 Max would only be up to the standard of the «obsolete predecessor aircraft».
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has also been severely criticized by Norwegian. On the one hand, the airline accuses the manufacturer of inadequate production standards and refers for example to Boeing’s problems with foreign objects in the wing tanks. According to the airline, the planes, which they themselves had received, had turned out to be an «operational disaster» and had not managed to «bring the cost or competitive advantages that Boeing had promised».
Replacing engines more than a hundred times
The Dreamliners would have had to remain on the ground for months for maintenance due to «exceptional defects», the company continues. «Norwegian has had to replace the engines on their 787 more than a hundred times.» They had constant reliability problems and had to lease other planes to replace them.
Norwegian also comments on the five outstanding Dreamliners, which she is now cancelling. Boeing has tried to force Norwegian to accept «five additional 787 that Boeing knows are faulty and are likely to be out of service for at least 20 percent of the time for maintenance», according to the law suit.
Norwegian still pure Boeing operator
The harsh attacks are particularly noteworthy since Norwegian is a pure Boeing operator. It has the largest fleet of the model in Europe with 18 Boeing 737 Max already delivered. In addition, there are about 80 Boeing 737-800, eight Boeing 787-8 and 29 Boeing 787-9, although the airline has ordered 58 A320 Neo and 33 A321 Neo from Airbus.
The airline’s problems with the Dreamliner go back to the year 2013. At that time a 787 from Norwegian had difficulties with the oxygen supply in the cockpit, others suffered from brake, hydraulic and other technical problems. In 2015 the airline nevertheless increased its Dreamliner order from Boeing.
Long history of Dreamliner problems
In the following years the Rolls-Royce Trent engines caused trouble for many Dreamliner operators, including Norwegian. Among other things, more frequent inspections became necessary. «We are frustrated and disappointed with Boeing and Rolls-Royce because we expect new aircraft to work,» a Norwegian spokeswoman told aeroTELEGRAPH in 2018.
In summer 2019, shortly after take-off in Rome, a turbine blade broke in a Norwegian Dreamliner engine. Parts measuring up to eight centimeters in size fell down and caused damage to homes and cars. Currently, there are again deficiencies in Trent engines which the manufacturer Rolls-Royce has to repair.
Boeing is not to blame for everything
Of course, Norwegian cannot, however, attribute all the red figures and debts of the past years to Boeing problems alone. The extent to which long-haul low-cost flights can be operated profitably has long been disputed. Norwegian also failed with an expansion into Argentina. The maiden flight of its subsidiary there took off in October 2018, and the Norwegians sold it again in December 2019.
Boeing will not comment on the complaint and the accusations made in the complaint.