FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 14, 2018. REUTERS
Boeing Co on Wednesday promised $100 million (Ksh.10 billion) to help families affected by the deadly crashes of the company’s 737 MAX planes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The multiyear payout is independent of lawsuits filed by families of the 346 people killed in the two crashes, which happened in October 2018 and March of this year, a Boeing spokesman said.
The funds will not go direct to the families, but will be given to local governments and non-profit organizations to help families with education and living expenses and to spur economic development in affected communities.
Boeing also said it will match any employee donations through December.
“The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort,” said Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg.
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, although some families have said they are not ready to settle.
Wednesday’s cash pledge comes as Boeing faces probes by global regulators and U.S. lawmakers over the development of the 737 MAX.
The company has been criticized for what some have seen as a clumsy response to the crashes. Muilenburg and other executives have said safety is Boeing’s priority and have vowed to learn from the crashes.
The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March, after the second crash. Boeing is working on a fix for software that has been identified as a common link in both crashes, which must be approved by U.S. air regulators before the 737 MAX can fly again.
Reuters News Agency