Aussie Light Plane Operators Sue Mobilgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Mobil admits 'mistake'
Fair Use for Educational and Research Purposes Monday January 24, 10:30 am Eastern Time Aussie Light Plane Operators Sue MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Light aircraft operators whose planes have been grounded for two weeks by a fuel contamination scare launched multimillion dollar lawsuits Monday against Mobil Oil Australia Ltd.
Eighty firms operating 500 aircraft in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria states filed suit in Melbourne's Federal Court $66 million in damages.
And 6,500 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association launched a suit in Victoria Supreme Court seeking unspecified damages.
Some 5,000 small aircraft in Australia's eastern states have been grounded for 14 days because of concern that some batches of Mobil airplane fuel could clog engines.
Mobil Oil Australia, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Mobil Exxon Corp., says the contamination was a result of a mistake in the production process, but it has not admitted liability.
Mobil is to begin widespread distribution Tuesday of a test to determine if a plane's fuel system was affected by contaminated fuel. Those found to be contaminated must undergo cleaning.
A Mobil spokeswoman said the company was ``disappointed that this has entered the legal arena.'' She spoke on condition of anonymity.
No dates were set for hearings.
Thousands of Australians living in the remote and sparsely populated Outback rely on light aircraft for everything from delivering mail and supplies to rounding up cattle and evacuating the sick.
``This crisis is entirely the result of Mobil's failure to properly supply fuel of a proper quality and standard,'' said lawyer Bernard Murphy, who filed the federal suit.
Firms losing more than $3,000 a day saw Mobil's offer of a $9.8 million compensation package as ``woefully inadequate,'' Murphy said.
``Mobil is trying to stem a hemorrhage with a Band-Aid,'' he said.
Barry Foster of Woorayl Air Services in southeast Victoria said his firm was losing at least $3,300 a day because its aircraft -- used for firefighting, crop dusting and charters -- have been grounded.
``It's in the middle of our season and for most of the agricultural operators, it's their busiest time,'' Foster said.
-- Bill P (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 24, 2000