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Three major Chinese airlines have called on Boeing to compensate them for the grounding of their 737 Max aircraft.
According to local reports, Air China, China Southern and China Eastern have all filed claims for payouts for losses incurred from the temporary suspension of flights using the 737 Max after it was involved in two fatal crashes.
China’s regulator was the first to ground the country’s fleet after the accidents – on a Lion Air flight in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines service in March this year – killed a total of 346 people.
Boeing says it has completed a software update for the aircraft’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which forced the nose of the crashed jets down multiple times after take-off and is likely to have played a part in the disasters. The company is now waiting for approval from regulators to roll out the update to the global fleet in order to get it airborne again.
The Chinese airlines, which operate the largest fleet of Boeing 737 Max, are demanding compensation for costs related to the move, as well as for delayed deliveries of the aircraft.
It comes as global aviation regulators are due to meet in Texas on Thursday, where the US Federal Aviation Administration will give an update on its reviews of Boeing’s software update. However, the BBC says it is unclear if the 737 Max will be put back into service before the end of the summer.
A Chinese aviation expert told Reuters that the country had grounded 96 737 Max aircraft, equating to around 4 per cent of its fleet.
Other airlines have said they will seek compensation, including Norwegian, which said in March that it would bill Boeing for grounding its fleet.