AVIATION ROW

A Kenyan family joins $1 billion case against Boeing

The law firm further accused FAA of being reckless, saying it might have had junior engineers overseeing the flight control software that ultimately went in to the 737 MAX

In Summary

• A family in Kenya whose kin perished in the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March has joined $1 billion (Sh103 billion) suits filed against the plane maker, Boeing in a US Federal court.

• The law firms said families of the victims have not received a final report from the government’s official investigators.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam standing at the scene of the accident
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam standing at the scene of the accident Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam standing at the scene of the accident
Image: ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES

A family in Kenya whose kin perished in the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March has joined $1 billion (Sh103 billion) suits filed against the plane maker, Boeing in a US Federal court.

In a statement to media houses yesterday, Ribbeck Law Chartered which represents majority of families of the victims of the deadly Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia said it has added the Kenyan case to 40 others.

‘’Our clients are seeking more than a billion dollars for their damages. Next week we will file and additional case for a family from Egypt,’’ the law firm said.

This is the latest in a growing number of lawsuits filed against Boeing in the aftermath of two fatal crashes involving the same model of plane.

The Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, killing 157 people while Lion Air Flight 610 crashed just minutes after taking off from an airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 189 people in October last year.

The law firms said families of the victims have not received a final report from the government’s official investigators and do not have access to the plane’s wreckage or design and manufacturing documents.

‘’By filing the cases in federal court in Chicago we have a higher chance to have access to the evidence pertaining not only to the design defects of the aircraft but also the protocols used by the FAA to authorize the certification of the of the Boeing 737 MAX 8,’’ Monica Kelly of Ribbeck Law Chartered said.

She added families of victims of those plane crashes have been kept in the dark and have not received details about ill fated flights ten months since the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 and five months since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The law firm further accused FAA of being reckless, saying it might have had junior engineers overseeing the flight control software that ultimately went in to the 737 MAX.

“The families we represent demand to know how possible it is for the FAA to certify the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with so many flaws,’’ she said.

Ribbeck Law Chartered further threatened to join hands with Global Aviation Law Group to consolidate cases against Boeing at the US court.

‘’If no settlement is reached soon, our co-counsel, Global Aviation Law Group, will petition the court that the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines cases be consolidated to avoid contradicting orders from two different judges,’’ the Chicago based law firm said.

Global Aviation Law Group pointed an accusing finger at FAA, saying the preliminary report indicates that it was outmatched by Boeing.

‘’Boeing should pay the highest possible fine so they are forced to change the way they operate, placing profits ahead of safety” David Njoroge , Global Aviation Law Group representatives in Nairobi said.