Polish airline asks U.S. judge to declare it crime victim in 737 MAX case

Polish national airline PLL LOT on Friday asked a U.S. judge to declare it was a crime victim in the Boeing 737 MAX criminal case, a move that could make the airline eligible for significant compensation.

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U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas ruled last week that people killed in two Boeing 737 MAX crashes are legally “crime victims.” He will determine what remedies should be imposed.

LOT argued it should have the same rights in the case as victims' families. LOT said it had at least $250 million in damages related to the 14 737 MAX aircraft it owned and leased at the time of the grounding.

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The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked O'Connor to give the government until Nov. 11 to file a memo about remedies.

Boeing's best-selling 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 for 20 months after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

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The Justice Department in 2021 reached a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing over a fraud conspiracy charge related to the plane’s flawed design, The settlement included a fine of $243.6 million, compensation to airlines of $1.77 billion and a $500 million fund for crash victims.

In December, some victims' relatives argued the Justice Department violated their rights when it struck that agreement with Boeing and asked O’Connor to rescind Boeing’s immunity from criminal prosecution.

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LOT also asked the court to require that the Justice deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing be reopened to "increase the amount that Boeing is required to pay its customers."

Boeing did not immediately comment.

LOT previously sought compensation from Boeing, but Boeing declined. LOT sued Boeing in late 2021 and the case is pending. LOT said the settlement's funds for airline compensation were not available to foreign airlines.

The crashes cost Boeing more than $20 billion and prompted reforms to airplane certification.

Source: Reuters


  1. LOT should be seeking compensation from EASA, which grounded the 737 MAX without giving a valid technical reason as required by ICAO convention. It is quite obvious from the data captured by the voice and flight data recorders of the Lion Air flight that the pilot intuitively handled and corrected the effects of undesired activation of MCAS—exactly as Boeing expected him to do—and did so for the first 21 times it activated, but he didn't seem to know that he could turn off the stabilizer's electric trim system and ended up playing yo-yo with the airplane. That knowledge—and which switches would turn it off—couldn't come from intuition, but would come from the simulator training to handle a runaway stabilizer trim condition, which the pilots gave no indication that they had even heard of, let alone trained for, even though that training has been mandatory—with periodic refresher training—since 1967. The training would also have taught them that the runaway trim situation was hazardous and could become catastrophic if not handled promptly as an emergency. The immediate cause of the crash was the Captain handing over control during an emergency to an obviously incompetent FO and then failing to monitor the FO and the airplane while he searched the operations manual for a low priority AIRSPEED UNRELIABLE procedure that should have been memorized, saying "That's OK" when the FO complained that the airplane was going down—because he failed to properly trim it.

    But you have to actually be competent in aeronautical engineering to understand what the data says and what it does not. Believing that news-media reporters are aero experts and have integrity, or that Congress' investigation report from Congressional hearings where they did most of the talking and the "evidence" consists of links to news reports is valid, or that Boeing employees used Jedi mind tricks to hoodwink the FAA… is bound to lead you down the merry path of absurdity. Seriously, even without a desperate LOT trying to attain victimhood, this stupid political charade with the 737 MAX has gone on long enough; time to end it.

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