Media Moves

Coverage: Boeing offers $100 mln to families of 737 MAX victims

July 4, 2019

Posted by Irina Slav

Boeing has offered a fund of $100 million to the families of the victims in two deadly crashes with its 737 MAX aircraft.

BBC’s Russell Hotten had the news:

Boeing is giving $100m (£80m) to help families affected by the two crashes of the company’s 737 Max planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The payment, stretching over several years, is independent of lawsuits filed in the wake of the disasters, which together killed 346 people.

The money will support education and living expenses for families and community programmes, Boeing said.

Lawyers for victims’ families dismissed the move.

The loss of Ethiopian Airlines’ flight ET302 in March was the second fatal accident involving a 737 Max in the space of five months. A near identical aircraft, owned by the Indonesian carrier Lion Air, went down in the sea off Jakarta in October 2018.

Crash investigators have focussed on the aircraft’s control system and Boeing has been working with regulators to roll out a software upgrade. The top-selling 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March, with no date when the aircraft might be cleared to fly again.

Daniel van Boom quoted a company statement for CNet:

The company said the funds will address “family and community needs” and support “education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs and economic development in impacted communities.” Boeing will work with local governments and non-profit organizations to carry out the aid.

“We at Boeing are sorry for the tragic loss of lives in both of these accidents and these lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing CEO, in a statement. “The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort.”

CNN’s Jackie Wattles supplied the families’ perspective:

The news was not well received by the relatives of victims who have sued the company, according to attorney Bob Clifford, who represents dozens of families affected by the March 2019 crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia.

“This type of offer so early in the litigation process is unprecedented,” Clifford said in an emailed statement. “Because there is still so much to learn about what occurred, it also appears to be disingenuous.”

He criticized Boeing’s offer as “vague” and added that the families are less interested in cash than getting their loved ones’ remains from the crash site, which so far has been what he called an “tortuously slow” process.The company is facing multiple lawsuits and federal investigations related to the 737 Max. The grounding has forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights each week, and it’s not clear when the 737 Max, which is Boeing’s top-selling plane, will be cleared to fly again.

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