Boeing offers $100m for families of passengers killed in 737 Max crashes

Aviation

Boeing has pledged to give $100m (£80m) for the families and communities affected by two crashes of its 737 Max plane.

Accidents involving a Lion Air jet last October and an Ethiopian Airlines plane in March left 346 people dead. The crashes caused aviation regulators to ground the aircraft worldwide.

Boeing, which is facing dozens of lawsuits over the accidents, said some of the money would go towards living expenses and to cover hardship suffered by the families of dead passengers.

However it will not go directly to the families, rather to local governments and charities to help with education and living expenses and to spur economic development in the areas worst affected by the crashes.

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and chief executive, said: “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.”

The company said it would release more information about the payout, which will be spread over several years, in the near future.

Boeing employees will also have the opportunity to make donations in support of those impacted by the accidents, with the firm promising to match the amount raised.

Relatives of passengers on the Lion Air plane that crashed off the coast of Indonesia agreed to try to settle through mediation, but families of passengers killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash are waiting until more is known about the accidents.

Preliminary investigations point to the role played by new software that pushed the planes’ noses down.

Boeing is updating the software but the timetable for the jets to return to the skies continues to be pushed back.

Last week major US airlines announced they were extending Boeing 737 Max cancellations into the autumn as the jet waits to be recertified.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said in a statement that it was removing the Max from its schedule until 1 October, which means roughly 150 flights a day out of 4,000 will be cancelled.

United and American Airlines are removing the Max from schedules until 3 September.

European airlines are also affected, including Norwegian, Ryanair and Tui.

Additional reporting by agencies

Contributed by :