Air Astana files a lawsuit against Embraer

Air Astana has a filed a lawsuit in New York against Embraer to “recover damages suffered by Air Astana after it was constrained to suspend operations of a fleet of regional jet aircraft manufactured by Embraer, leaving a fleet of brand-new aircraft parked and empty on the ground, because those planes were unsafe to fly.”

The lawsuit continues:

“3. The aircraft at issue are five Embraer E190-300 regional jet aircraft (each, an “E2,” and, collectively, the “E2s”). The first of the E2s was delivered to Air Astana in November 2018, by and through a lease agreement from AerCap Ireland Capital Designated Activity Company (“AerCap”).

4. E2s operated by Air Astana have experienced complex, in-flight failures that transferred across the aircrafts’ operating systems. Those sorts of multiple, linked system failures are sometimes colloquially called “cascading” failures. The unacceptable in-flight issues described below, including the cascading failures described in detail, constituted compensable breaches of obligations owed to Air Astana.

5. The incidents described below significantly diminish an E2’s safety profile and created unacceptable risk to the aircraft and its occupants. Each required the respective Air Astana flight crews to engage in highly complex recovery actions in order to ensure that the Embraermanufactured aircraft could land safely.

6. The dangerous circumstances were exacerbated by the geographic and topographic environment in which Embraer knew the E2s would operate: Kazakhstan, Air Astana’s home market, covers more than one million square miles, with treacherous terrain and challenging weather. It has only 19 airports that can accommodate large commercial aircraft and thus few and widely-spaced emergency landing options.

7. Air Astana promptly notified Embraer that the E2s had demonstrated an unreasonable and unprecedented propensity to experience unpredictable and dangerous system failures. Embraer – ultimately – acknowledged that each failure was the result of either (i) design or engineering flaws (unknown even to Embraer at the time it delivered the E2s), or (ii) Embraer’s prior failure to document novel systems or routines in the training and operation materials which it produced and delivered to Air Astana. Air Astana has been forced to suspend operations of the E2s since December 15, 2020, and has incurred significant expenses (including lease payments to AerCap) in respect of aircraft that could not operate safely.

8. Air Astana seeks compensatory damages for: (i) Embraer’s willful contractual breaches, having warranted the E2s as airworthy and free from inherent design defects when it knew or should have known that they were not; (ii) Embraer’s grossly negligent and willful misconduct in manufacturing, marketing and supplying Air Astana (through a lessor) the dangerously-flawed E2s; and (iii) Embraer’s continued reckless indifference to the lives of Air Astana’s flight crews and passengers, evidenced by Embraer’s inexplicable and frankly dangerous refusal to take the remedial action that would have allowed Air Astana promptly to resume commercial operation of the E2s. Had Embraer comported itself as a responsible manufacturer, the suspension of E2 operations would have been materially shorter, or perhaps avoided altogether.”