United States opens $ 500 million fund for relatives of Boeing 737 Max victims | Voice of America


A US $ 500 million fund to compensate relatives of 346 people killed in two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes has been opened, claims administrators told Reuters on Tuesday.

The fund, which opened on Monday, is part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice. Boeing Co. agreed in January to pay $ 500 million to compensate heirs, relatives and beneficiaries of passengers who died on Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian Airlines 302 flights in 2018 and 2019.

Each eligible family will receive nearly $ 1.45 million, and the money will flow as application forms are submitted and completed, Trustees Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros said in a joint statement. Families have until October 15 to complete the application forms.

The Justice Department and Boeing declined to comment.

The fund is part of a Justice Department’s $ 2.5 billion settlement reached in January with Boeing after prosecutors accused the company of fraud over the certification of the 737 Max following a Lion crash Air on October 29, 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines disaster on March 10. , 2019.

FILE – Dozens of Boeing 737 Max planes on the ground are parked at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Wash., November 17, 2020.

The settlement allowed Boeing to avoid criminal prosecution, but had no impact on civil suits brought by relatives of the victims.

In July 2019, Boeing appointed Feinberg and Biros to oversee the distribution of a separate $ 50 million to the families of those killed in the crashes, and the distribution of the new fund follows a similar formula.

While Boeing primarily settled the lawsuits against Lion Air, it still faces numerous lawsuits in Chicago federal court by the Ethiopian crash families asking why the Max continued to fly after the first disaster.

The DOJ’s settlement includes a fine of $ 243.6 million and compensation for airlines of $ 1.77 billion for fraudulent conspiracy charges related to the flawed aircraft design.

The Justice Department said in January: “Boeing employees have chosen the path of profit over openness by withholding important information from the FAA regarding the operation of its 737 Max aircraft and by trying to cover up their deception. . ”

Some lawmakers say the government has not gone far enough, while Boeing says it has taken many steps to overhaul its safety culture.

Congress ordered a major overhaul of how the FAA certifies new aircraft in December and led an independent review of Boeing’s safety culture.

The 737 Max was grounded for 20 months after the two fatal crashes. The FAA lifted the order after Boeing made software upgrades and training changes.

Last month, Boeing agreed to pay the FAA a $ 17 million fine after installing equipment on more than 700 Boeing 737 Max’s and NG’s that contained unapproved sensors. “The FAA will hold Boeing and the aviation industry accountable for the safety of our skies,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

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