A US federal court lawsuit has been filed against Boeing over allegations the company’s anti-stall system was defectively designed.
The suit is believed to be the first raised against the company over the Ethiopian Airlines disaster that resulted in the deaths of its entire cabin and crew – 157 people.
Boeing has said the company is bringing all of its resources to bear, “working tirelessly to understand what happened and do everything possible to ensure” a disaster of this calibre “doesn’t happen again.”
Filed in Chicago federal court last week by the family of Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda who was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, the suit alleges that Boeing defectively designed the automated flight control system.
This follows Boeing’s promise to update and fix its 737 Max aircraft anti-stall system – the control system at fault– which may have played a part in the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air disasters.
However, in the wake of the Lion Air 737 Max disaster, the New York Times reported families of victims in the Indonesian air disaster may have been pressured to sign a no-suit deal against the airline and Boeing.
It has not been reported whether any such agreement for silence and no-sits was ever discussed between Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing and the families of victims in the flight 302 disaster, and Travel Weekly does not make any assumption or insinuation that discussions occurred.
The anti-stall system, also known as Manouvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), is designed to push the nose of the 737 Max downward in the event of an engine stall, especially while a jet is on auto-pilot.
Following the news that a lawsuit would be raised against Boeing, Reuters reported that data pulled from the Ethiopian Airlines flight recorder suggested the anti-stall system had been activated before the fatal crash.
Reuters did, however, say it was not immediately clear whether the system on the Ethiopian jet was responding to faulty sensor data, as in the case of the earlier crash, or genuine stall indications.
This is the second related piece of evidence to emerge from the black boxes of Ethiopian flight 302, after an initial sample of data recovered by investigators in Paris nearly two weeks ago suggested similar readings to the first crash.