WASHINGTON — A $500 million U.S. victim compensation fund for the relatives of 346 people killed in two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes opened Monday, the claim administrators told Reuters.
The fund is part of a settlement with the Justice Department. Boeing Co in January agreed to pay $500 million to compensate the heirs, relatives and beneficiaries of the passengers who died in Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2018 and 2019.
Each eligible family will receive nearly $1.45 million and money will be paid on a rolling basis as claim forms are submitted and completed, said administrators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros in a joint statement. Families have until October 15 to complete claim forms.
The Justice Department and Boeing did not immediately comment.
The fund is part of a $2.5 billion Justice Department settlement reached in January with Boeing after prosecutors charged the company with fraud over the certification of the 737 MAX following a Lion Air crash on Oct. 29, 2019 and an Ethiopian Airlines disaster on March 10, 2019.
The settlement allowed Boeing to avoid criminal prosecution but did not impact civil litigation by victims’ relatives that continues.
In July 2019, Boeing named Feinberg and Biros to oversee the distribution of a separate $50 million to the families of those killed in the crashes and the new fund’s distribution follows a similar formula.
While Boeing has mostly settled Lion Air lawsuits, it still face numerous lawsuits in Chicago federal court by families of the Ethiopian crash asking why the MAX continued flying after the first disaster.
The DOJ settlement includes a fine of $243.6 million and compensation to airlines of $1.77 billion over fraud conspiracy charges related to the plane’s flawed design.
The Justice Department said in January, “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.”
Some lawmakers say the government did not go far enough, while Boeing says it has taken numerous steps to overhaul its safety culture.
Congress ordered a major overhaul of how the FAA certifies new airplanes in December and directed an independent review of Boeing’s safety culture.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.