Wednesday, 24 July 2024
Home Planemaker Boeing pleads guilty in 737 MAX crashes
Planemaker

Boeing pleads guilty in 737 MAX crashes

Aircraft manufacturer agrees to $487 million fine and stricter oversight as part of deal with Justice Department

303
A Boeing 737 MAX 7 undergoing flight tests at Boeing Field. (Photo: wilco737 on Flickr)

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to defraud the US government in connection with the two fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, which claimed the lives of 346 people.

The Justice Department announced the deal on Sunday, revealing that Boeing will pay a fine of $487.2 million and submit to a three-year probationary period overseen by an independent monitor.

The charges stem from Boeing’s failure to disclose crucial information about the flawed flight control system known as MCAS, which was implicated in both crashes. This software, designed to automatically adjust the plane’s pitch, activated erroneously in both instances, leading to uncontrollable dives.

“This criminal conviction demonstrates the department’s commitment to holding Boeing accountable for its misconduct,” stated a Justice Department official.

However, the plea deal has been met with fierce criticism from the families of the crash victims, who argue that it does not go far enough. They have consistently advocated for a public trial and more severe consequences for the company and its executives.

“This sweetheart deal fails to recognize that because of Boeing’s conspiracy, 346 people died,” said Paul G. Cassell, a lawyer representing numerous victims’ families.

“Through crafty lawyering between Boeing and D.O.J., the deadly consequences of Boeing’s crime are being hidden,” the lawyer said, in a report from BBC News.

The agreement also mandates that Boeing invest a minimum of $455 million to enhance its compliance and safety programs. Additionally, the company’s board of directors will be required to meet with the families of the crash victims, a demand long sought by those who lost loved ones.

This plea deal marks a significant blow to Boeing’s reputation, as it grapples with regaining public trust following the 737 MAX tragedies.

The company has already paid out billions in fines, compensation to victims’ families, and reimbursements to airlines due to the 20-month grounding of the 737 MAX.

While this agreement resolves the criminal charges related to the 2018 and 2019 crashes, the Justice Department emphasized that it does not preclude potential charges stemming from other investigations, including a recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9.

Furthermore, no individual employees, including corporate executives, are granted immunity from prosecution under this deal.

A judge will ultimately decide whether the $243.6 million fine Boeing already paid as part of a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement will be factored into the total fine amount. The court will also determine the appropriate amount of further restitution to be paid.

Written by
Dirk Andrei Salcedo

An aviation enthusiast turned creator of the top aviation news portal in the Philippines, Dirk has a deep passion for everything that flies. When he's not keeping his finger on the pulse of the industry, he also volunteers with a major humanitarian organization, impacting people on the ground and in the sky.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter

Featured Stories

Categories

Related Articles

Planemaker

Embraer unveils automated takeoff system, E-Jet upgrades

Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer has unveiled a series of groundbreaking advancements for...

Planemaker

Boeing projects demand for 44,000 new airplanes by 2043

Boeing has released its 2024 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), projecting a demand...

Planemaker

Airbus A321XLR receives EASA certification

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has granted type certification to...

Planemaker

Boeing scales back commercial presence at Farnborough Airshow

Boeing has announced a reduced commercial presence at the 2024 Farnborough International...