Boeing has agreed with the US Department of Justice to end prosecutions in connection with two 737 Max crashes, which killed 346 people. The aircraft manufacturer was charged with conspiracy to defraud government agencies, but was able to reach an agreement by pledging to pay $ 2.5 billion. Collusion, in this case, refers to the relationship with the FAA AEG Aircraft Evaluation Group, which certified the 737 Max.
This amount includes $ 243.6 million in fines and $ 1.77 billion in compensation to customers on behalf of airlines, given that the aircraft was banned during the investigation of the incidents, which took more than one and a half years. An additional $ 500 million is earmarked for the Air Disaster Relief Fund to compensate for passengers killed in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
Flight 610 crashed on October 29, 2018, and flight 302 on March 10, 2019. In both cases, the FAA AEG determined that the 737 Max’s Maneuverability Enhancement System (MCAS) was activated and could have played a role in the crash.
Boeing admitted that it defrauded the FAA about the circumstances surrounding MCAS. Apparently, two Boeing 737 Max flight engineers discovered an important change in MCAS in November 2016, but the company chose to withhold this information, rather than bring it to the FAA AEG when it was evaluating the new aircraft. As a result, AEG did not mention the system in its report, and information on MCAS was lacking in aircraft manuals and training materials.
In addition to the payment, Boeing was required to continue to work with the FAA’s anti-fraud department on this and any future investigations. The company will have to report any evidence of fraud committed by its employees or agents, and submit annual remediation reports to the anti-fraud department.
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