Boeing to pay $2.5 billion over 737 Max failings

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8. Photo: © Colin Brown

The United States Department of Justice has ruled that Boeing must pay up to $2.5 billion dollars over its failings with its 737 Max aircraft.

Boeing’s 737 Max was grounded from March 2019 until November 2020 after the fatal crashes of Lion Air flight JT610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 in March 2019.

The sum consists of $1.77 billion compensation to the airlines that operate the aircraft, for their inability to fly them after the globally mandated grounding of the type. Boeing will also pay $500 million in compensation to the families of the victims of the two crashed 737 Max flights. Additionally, the Chicago headquartered company must pay a $243.6 million fine for deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over the aircraft type’s certification process, of which a large percentage was handed over to Boeing to certify parts of the aircraft itself.

Boeing has admitted to failing to report to the FAA (as part of the certification process) how it changed the way the MCAS flight control system would operate, during the aircraft’s development. The company then knowingly handed the aircraft over to customers without the adequate information and crew training resources regarding the MCAS system, which would later go on to cause the two fatal accidents, resulting in the loss of 346 lives.