LOT Polish Airlines (LO, Warsaw Chopin) has filed a lawsuit against Boeing (BOE, Washington National) in a court in Seattle, WA, for compensation for the grounding of all B737-8s between March 2019 and March 2021, the carrier told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

LOT confirmed it is seeking not less than USD250 million in compensation from the manufacturer. It underlined that the lawsuit was filed after months of negotiations had not led to a satisfactory outcome. The airline warned previously it could take legal action if no agreement was reached.

LOT currently has five B737-8s in its fleet, all of which were delivered prior to the March 2019 global grounding of the type, the ch-aviation fleets module shows. All are leased from ALC Blarney Aircraft. The airline has a further eight units of the type on order, albeit none directly from Boeing. Six are due to come from the order book of ALAFCO, one from Air Lease Corporation, and one from United Airlines. The airline argues that the grounding of the delivered aircraft and the deferral of planned deliveries during the period of LOT's rapid growth pre-COVID led to substantial losses as it forced the airline to wet-lease in multiple other aircraft through costly short-term deals.

The B737-8s are the backbone of LOT's narrowbody fleet, which also comprises six B737-800s. The airline has been a loyal Boeing customer since the fall of communism in 1989 - a B767-200(ER), SP-LOA (msn 24733), was LOT's first Western-built aircraft when it was delivered in April 1989. The airline has since also operated B737-300s, B737-400s, B737-500s, a B737-700, and B767-300ERs. Its widebody fleet currently comprises eight B787-8s and seven B787-9s. LOT operates no Airbus aircraft - its regional fleet comprises De Havilland Aircraft of Canada turboprops and Embraer regional jets.

LOT's relationship with Boeing has soured as a result of the MAX issue. Recently, the state-owned airline said it would not take another two B787-9s it had ordered through lessors and put in storage in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline has also been in talks with the lessors about the cancellation or renegotiation of the terms of its outstanding B737-8 commitments. LOT believes the delay caused by the grounding allows it to rescind the deals with no penalties.

Boeing declined to comment on the development.