Boeing Faces $2.5 Billion Fine For Lying About 737 Max Crashes
The FBI began investigating Boeing after the horrifying crashes of the 737 Max in 2018 and 2019. The company has now been criminally charged in the US.
The 737 Max had two crashes over the course of two years. The first crash was in Indonesia in October 2018, and the second was in Ethiopia. As a result of these two crashes, 346 people were killed and an official investigation began.
The Department of Justice in the United States has now charged Boeing with conspiracy to defraud the nation. The result of this charge is a $2.5 billion fine that will be reallocated to many parties, although no individual within Boeing is facing legal action.
The $2.5 billion will include a $243.6 million ‘criminal monetary penalty’ as well as $1.77 billion to airlines who had purchased the faulty 737 Max. Additionally, $500 million will be placed in a fund designed to help the families of those who died in the crashes.
US Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said in a statement about the result of the case:
The misleading statements, half-truths, and omissions communicated by Boeing employees to the FAA impeded the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the flying public.
This case sends a clear message: The Department of Justice will hold manufacturers like Boeing accountable for defrauding regulators – especially in industries where the stakes are this high.
Contrary to the thoughts of Cox, Peter DeFazio (D-OR) the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement, via The Verge:
This settlement amounts to a slap on the wrist and is an insult to the 346 victims who died as a result of corporate greed. Not only is the dollar amount of the settlement a mere fraction of Boeing’s annual revenue, the settlement sidesteps any real accountability in terms of criminal charges.
I hope the DOJ can explain its rationale for this weak settlement to the families, because from where I sit this attempt to change corporate behavior is pathetic and will do little to deter criminal behavior going forward.
The issue with the 737 Max was a piece of software in the MCAS system, that was designed to push the nose of the plane down. However, the software relied on only one sensor and was at fault in the two fatal crashes. There was also criticism directed at the company and its education documentation. Many noted that the documentation could be completed with an hour on an iPad and did not make mention of the systems that led to the two crashes.
Boeing has now begun rolling out the plane once again and has addressed the MCAS system issues alongside its training courses. However, there have been issues with the planes not being tested to the standard that the FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration) is expected to provide.
With all this in mind, some may struggle to be confident in the 737 Max when it makes a larger scale return.
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