‘Dreamlifter’ airline sues Boeing for $175 million


Boeing Co., builder of the 787 Dreamliner passenger plane, was sued for $175 million by Evergreen International Airlines Inc. over claims it broke a 20- year contract for ferrying components of the new jet.

Evergreen claims in its complaint that Boeing abandoned the agreement for the McMinnville, Oregon-based company to deliver 787 components using four so-called Dreamlifters, specially outfitted Boeing 747s.

Boeing’s Dreamliner program is more than two years behind schedule because of engineering difficulties.

“All the while, Evergreen stood by Boeing, sacrificing its own immediate profit for the overall success of the program,” according to the complaint filed April 1 in federal court in Seattle.

Evergreen, a unit of Evergreen Holdings Inc., said in its complaint that Boeing dropped it without cause in favor of Atlas Air Inc. The Chicago-based aerospace company owes Atlas almost $1 billion because of delays in another program, according to the complaint.

“We are aware of it,” Boeing spokesman Dean Tougas said of the lawsuit in a phone interview.

Tougas said the Evergreen contract was renewable every five years up to a 20-year maximum and that Boeing decided to employ Atlas when the current five-year term expires at the end of this year.

Declining to address Evergreen’s allegation that the switch was motivated by money, Tougas said Boeing doesn’t comment on the terms of its contracts with suppliers or lawsuits.

The company said today that the wings and body of the 787 Dreamliner had passed a critical test that would allow it to move toward flight certification.