Boeing will pay $2.5 billion to settle a criminal charge related to its troubled 737 Max jetliner.
The Justice Department announced the settlement Thursday, nearly two years after the second of two crashes that killed 346 people in all. Boeing is agreeing to pay money for crash victims’ families, airline customers and airlines, as well as a fine.
The 737 Max entered service in 2017. The first crash occurred in October 2018 in Indonesia, and a second occurred five months later in Ethiopia. In both cases, an automated system pushed the noses of the planes down, and pilots were unable to regain control.
“The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception. This resolution holds Boeing accountable for its employees’ criminal misconduct, addresses the financial impact to Boeing’s airline customers, and hopefully provides some measure of compensation to the crash-victims’ families and beneficiaries.”
In November, the FAA rescinded an order that grounded Boeing’s 737 Max fleet.
"We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations," said David Calhoun, chief executive officer of The Boeing Company. "These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity."