In the first move to get something out of Boeing, China’s four leading airlines are asking for compensation.
It would be recalled that the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane was globally grounded after a second mishap happened to an Ethiopian Airways flight enroute Nairobi. Within a very tensed business relations with the US, Air China, China Southern and China Eastern have formally asked for compensation from the Boeing.
The Chinese airlines said they are seeking compensation for losses caused by the grounding as well as delayed deliveries of the troubled narrow-body jet. The global fleet of 737 Max aircraft were grounded just days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash on 10 March, following a Lion Air crash in Indonesia involving the same plane type last October. Chinese airlines were the first to ground the plane before it was followed by many other airlines and countries including Nigeria.
Last week, the US placed a ban on Huawei, Chinese telecom giant and also the world’s second largest maker of smartphones. While the sanctions has been eased on some cases, Google and many other American and Western tech companies have placed an embargo on Huawei. Aviation experts who spoke to PageOne’s aviation reporters said it doesn’t necessarily mean that China is using Boeing to get back at the US but the timing of the demand is suspicious and could further escalate trade tensions between the US and China.
Although the amount involved has not been announced, it could run in into billions of dollars given the magnitude of production deal signed with Boeing by the four airlines. Boeing has not commented on the matter.