Boeing gives $100m to help 737 Max crash families

A woman lies on the coffin during a memorial service for the Ethiopian passengers and crew who perished in the Ethiopian Airways crashImage copyright
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All 157 passengers and crew were killed when flight ET302 went down shortly after take-off

Boeing is giving $100m (£80m) to help families affected by the two crashes of the company’s 737 Max planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The payment, stretching over several years, is independent of lawsuits filed in the wake of the disasters, which together killed 346 people.

The money will support education and living expenses for families and community programmes, Boeing said.

Boeing’s 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March.

The loss of Ethiopian Airlines’ flight ET302 in March was the second fatal accident involving a 737 Max in the space of five months. A near identical aircraft, owned by the Indonesian carrier Lion Air, went down in the sea off Jakarta in October 2018.

Crash investigators have focussed on the aircraft’s control system and Boeing has been working with regulators to roll out a software upgrade. But there is still no date when the manufacturer’s top-selling aircraft might be cleared to fly again.

Boeing said in a statement on Wednesday that the “funds will support education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities. Boeing will partner with local governments and non-profit organizations to address these needs. This initial investment will be made over multiple years.”

Dennis Muilenburg, the chairman and chief executive, added: “We at Boeing are sorry for the tragic loss of lives in both of these accidents and these lives lost will continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds for years to come.

“The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort,” he said.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Boeing by families of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crash victims.

The company is in settlement talks over the Lion Air litigation and has separately offered to negotiate with families of Ethiopian Airlines victims as well, though some families have said they are not ready to settle.

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