This Thursday, Boeing will be arraigned on federal criminal charges resulting from the two 737 MAX tragedies in which 346 people were killed in crashes in 2018 and 2019. On October 18th, 2018, Lion Air flight 610 crashed off West Java into the ocean, killing all 189 aboard. On March 19th, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff near Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people aboard.
Boeing was initially granted immunity from prosecution by the US Justice Department due to a deferred prosecution agreement in January 2021. That agreement, regarding defrauding federal regulators, related to the flawed design of the MAX that was not revealed to the FAA and other authorities during the certification process and the MCAS system that was a major contributory factor in both crashes. In that agreement, a $500 million fund was set aside to compensate victims’ families. Boeing paid a fine of $243 million, and the remaining $1.756 billion went to airlines to compensate them for the grounding, which Boeing was already contractually obligated to pay.
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