There appears to be no let up on Boeing following two fatal crashes of its 737 Max jetliners with China now demanding compensation over the grounding of the aircraft.
Two of the world’s most populous country’s state-owned airlines, China Southern Airlines Ltd and Air China Ltd said on Wednesday that they want to be compensated for not being able to fly the 737 MAX.
A third Chinese airline, China Eastern Airlines Ltd, made a similar request for compensation last month after it had to ground all 15 of its 737 MAX aircraft.
This triple request for compensation comes at a delicate time in Sino-U.S. relations as both countries are involved in a tit for tat trade war that has seen the United States impose a $200 billion tariff on Chinese imports.
These new tariffs now have Washington expecting China to get tough with American companies that do business in China.
China, together with Europe and North America is the biggest purchasers of jet aircraft in the world and is now awaiting a response to its request from the Seattle plane maker.
Civil Aviation Administration of China grounds the 737 MAX
Chinese airlines were forced to ground the 737 MAX after the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) stopped Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from operating in China for an indefinite period.
Citing safety concerns following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight number 302 from Addis Ababa on route to Nairobi, Kenya, the plane went down six minutes into the flight killing all 157 passengers and crew.
Five months earlier the same model aircraft operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air crashed shortly after takeoff under similar circumstances killing 189 people.
China takes a hard line
According to reports in the Washington Post, the Global Times newspaper, a state-run media outlet published an anti-American article that reads:
“We must use punishment and tell the Americans their practice of using concealment and fraud to extract benefits from others, while benefiting themselves, is unfair.”
While talking to Reuters, China aviation expert Li Xiaojin said that:
“China has grounded 96 aircraft, which is about 4 per cent of its aeroplanes. The grounding causes huge losses for Chinese airlines.”
Li estimates that daily loses could be in the region of 100,000 yuan ($14,469.90) per aircraft.
“The potential costs are huge too. Slower growth in passenger volume across China’s major airports for March and April was largely due to the grounding of 737 MAX jets, according to my calculations,” Li said.
Besides airlines, in China other none U.S. carriers demanding compensation from Boeing include, Ryanair, Turkish Airlines and Flydubai.
The FAA to meet in Dallas
These latest requests for compensation come a day before U.S. Federal Aviation Administration holds a meeting in Dallas to review Boeing’s updated software for the 737 Max.
During the meeting, they will also ask about new proposals for pilot training on the 737 MAX and discuss a possible end to the grounding.
Despite any decision made by the FAA on the safety of the 737 MAX, both China and Europe have their own flight safety regulators and will decide for themselves when they think the 737 MAX is safe to resume flying.