Boeing was sued for $336 million Wednesday by a Kuwaiti leasing firm that accused it of wrongly refusing to return advance payments on a now-canceled order for 40 of its troubled 737 MAX jetliners.
In a complaint filed in Chicago federal court, ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance accused Boeing of violation of contract for keeping the payments regardless of being unable to deliver the planes or present a revised delivery schedule.
ALAFCO stated it canceled its order on March 6 after Boeing did not deliver nine planes on time. It stated Boeing had resisted its claim that the issues amounted to a “non-excusable delay” that would justify repayment.
The Chicago-based firm dropped 737 MAX deliveries in March 2019, when the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes following the deaths of 346 people in accidents of two 737 MAX planes operated by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines.
Boeing is now struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, which forced it to cut manufacturing due to falling demand, airline customers’ own cash struggles, and the logistical hurdles of delivering jetliners.
ALAFCO buys big commercial planes and leases them to airlines. Its largest owners embody the Kuwait Finance House, Gulf Investment Corp, and Kuwait Airways, based on its website.
Boeing stocks settled down $1.36 at $134.97 Wednesday. They’ve lost over two-thirds of their value since last March, just before the 737 MAX grounding.