FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 Max aircraft during a display at the Farnborough International Airshow, in Farnborough, Britain, July 20, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Photo
  • The US plane-maker will pay a fine of $243.6 million in relation to the fatal 737 MAX crashes, the Department of Justice has said

WASHINGTON (Agencies): US plane-maker Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to criminal fraud charges in relation to deadly crashes involving its 737 MAX aircraft, the Department of Justice has said.

Two separate Boeing 737 MAX planes went down in Indonesia and Ethiopia in less than five months between 2018 and 2019, killing a total of 346 people.

According to a court filing by prosecutors on Sunday, Boeing is going to pay a fine of $243.6 million to resolve the probe by the US government. Under the deal, the plane-maker has also agreed to invest at least $455 million over the next three years to improve its safety and compliance programs.

A special monitor will be introduced to ensure Boeing’s compliance, and will issue public progress reports annually, the filing read. The company will be on probation during this three-year period, it added.

Members of Boeing’s board will also have to meet with the relatives of those killed in the 737 MAX crashes as part of the agreement. The plea deal requires the approval of the federal judge in charge of the case, Reed O’Connor.

A Boeing spokesperson confirmed to the media that the firm had “reached an agreement in principle on terms of a resolution with the Justice Department.”

The deal avoids a trial for the plane-maker, which was demanded by the families of the victims. However, it would make Boeing a convicted felon, which could complicate the acquisition of contracts with US government agencies such as the Department of Defense and NASA.

In 2021, Boeing agreed to pay over $2.5 billion, including the original $243.6 million fine, as part of a deferred-prosecution deal with the Department of Justice after the company admitted to deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about an obscure flight control system linked to the crashes. In both cases, faulty sensor readings caused 737 MAX 8 jets to enter a nosedive. If the company had complied with the deal, the charge would have been dropped after a period of three years.

By Media

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