July 13, 2024

Boeing Admits Guilt in 737 MAX Tragedies, Faces Hefty Fines

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge related to the fatal 737 MAX crashes, accepting a significant fine and committing to substantial safety investments as part of a deal with the Department of Justice.

737 MAX

Photo Source: The Japan Times

Boeing will plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge in connection with the two tragic crashes involving its 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This decision is part of a deal reached with the Department of Justice (DoJ) after Boeing violated a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement.

The violation occurred when a door plug separated from an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 shortly after takeoff on January 5, 2024, just days before the deferred prosecution was set to expire. As a result, Boeing will pay an additional $243.6 million fine and invest at least $455 million in safety programs, pending approval from a federal judge.

By accepting the plea deal, Boeing avoids a high-profile court case, though the agreement has been criticized by some, including a lawyer for the crash victims’ families who called it a “sweetheart deal.” The terms of the agreement were presented to Boeing last week, offering a choice between admitting guilt with a fine or facing court proceedings.

“We have reached an agreement in principle on terms of a resolution with the Justice Department, subject to the memorialization and approval of specific terms,” Boeing confirmed in a statement following the DoJ’s legal filing on July 7, 2024.

Additionally, an independent monitor will oversee Boeing’s safety processes for three years. This agreement only covers the period before the crashes and does not protect current or former Boeing executives from potential future prosecution.

Photo Source: CBD

In a separate move, some families of the crash victims urged the DoJ to impose a $24 billion fine on Boeing and pursue criminal prosecution. The 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 resulted in the deaths of 346 people across two flights: Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The criminal fraud conspiracy charge pertains to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) used on the aircraft and allegations that Boeing misled regulators about the system. A criminal conviction could potentially impact Boeing’s defense contracts and production, though the US government is expected to argue that these arrangements are vital to national interest.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

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

Send this to a friend