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Max crashes: Boeing admits fraud – million dollar fine

Max crashes: Boeing admits fraud – million dollar fine
Max crashes: Boeing admits fraud – million dollar fine

The US aircraft manufacturer Boeing must again pay millions following crashes in 2018 and 2019. But the court does not seem to fully trust the manufacturer yet.

In the case surrounding the crashes of two Boeing aircraft that killed a total of 346 people more than five years ago, the aircraft manufacturer says it has made a deal with the US Department of Justice. Boeing announced on Monday that an “agreement in principle” had been reached. According to court documents filed in the US state of Texas, the US company agreed to plead guilty to “conspiracy to defraud the United States” in the certification of 737 MAX aircraft. This would allow Boeing to avoid further investigations by the department.

346 people were killed in the accidents in October 2018 and March 2019. Boeing had avoided prosecution at the time by promising, among other things, to implement a compliance and ethics program. The company also paid a fine of $243.6 million. The Justice Department concluded in May that Boeing had violated the terms of the deal at the time.

New investigations against Boeing after near-accident in January

One trigger for this was the near-accident in January, when a fuselage fragment broke off a nearly new Boeing aircraft during a climb. Although no one was injured in the incident, it was also due to the fact that, by a lucky coincidence, the seats next to the hole in the fuselage were not occupied.

The cause of the crashes in 2018 and 2019 was software on the aircraft that was intended to assist pilots, but interfered with the controls more than they expected. It steered the planes towards the ground – and the pilots of both planes were ultimately unable to align them again. Aircraft of this type were not allowed to fly for almost two years until the error in the software was fixed.

Boeing was subsequently accused of fraud in a criminal case because employees of the aircraft manufacturer had declared special training for the software to be unnecessary when the type was certified by US authorities.

According to court documents published late Sunday, Boeing will have to invest at least $455 million in compliance and safety programs after pleading guilty. It will also have to pay a further $243.6 million in fines. An independent auditor will also have to submit a progress report every year. Boeing will receive a three-year probation period. The agreement will only become effective once it is approved by the court in Texas where the case is pending.

Survivors demand harsher punishments

After such a turn of events had become apparent in recent weeks, families of the crash victims had sharply criticized the prospect of a new agreement with Boeing and demanded a billion-dollar fine. They are to be given a meeting with the Boeing Board of Directors. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun apologized to the relatives a few weeks ago and emphasized that the company bears responsibility for the crashes.

Source: Stern

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