Boeing and ILFC sued over Flash Airlines crash

Families of 10 of the victims of the Flash Airlines disaster in Egypt are to sue Boeing and ILFC, the owners of the crasehd 737.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  February 25, 2004

The families of 10 of the victims of the Flash Airlines disaster in Egypt are to sue Boeing and ILFC, the owners of the crasehd 737. "We have been given the authority to begin preparing for a lawsuit that would be filed in the United States," Manuel von Ribbeck a lawyer with the Chicago-based Nolan Law Group, said at a press conference Marseille. The Flash Airlines Boeing 737-300 crashed near Sharm-el-Sheikh on the 3rd of January killing all 148 people onboard; the majority of the passengers were French tourists. von Ribbeck said that legal proceedings would start “within a week” against Boeing and the US-based leasing giant, International Lease and Finance Corporation (ILFC), which owned the aircraft. Francois Quilichini, a lawyer representing the children of Ernest Siddi who died in the crash, told AFP that the lawsuit would allow interested parties to "consult all of Boeing's documents related to this affair." He added that the plaintiffs accuse Boeing of having "let the 737 fly even though they knew about the dysfunctions of these planes and yet did nothing so that these dysfunctions were repaired within a reasonable delay.” ILFC, meanwhile, is suspected of having leased the aircraft to "successive leasees with ever-decreasing regard for the state of the plane.” The cause of the crash is still to be confirmed, but suspicions have focused on the rudder, which has been linked to other classic 737 crashes. The plaintiffs will presumably accuse Boeing of not having taken enough steps to eradicate this problem, but the issue is well-known in the industry and an airworthiness directive was issued in America after the US Air 737 crash. This directive mandated changes to the rudder, but it is only enforceable in America, not internationally, and by the FAA not Boeing anyway. Internationally, it was up to each individual country to taken similar steps, but not all did. Furthermore, all over the world, maintenance and airworthiness is clearly the responsibility of the operator of the aircraft, in this case Flash Airlines, not the manufacturer nor lessor.

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