Boeing is to allocate half of the previously announced $100 million fund for “near term assistance” of families of Lion Air JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines ET302 victims. The U.S. plane maker made the announcement on July 17, 2019 ‒ the same day that family members gave testimony at U.S. Congressional hearing, expressing their doubts about Boeing’s sincerity.
The $50 million to be an “initial expenditure”, aimed to “address the needs” of families and communities affected by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 respectively. In total, 346 people died during these accidents. Earlier in July, Boeing announced a $100 million in funds for those affected by the two crashes to be distributed over multiple years in collaboration with local governments and non-profit organizations.
The establishment of victims’ compensation funds are going to be overseen, designed and administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros. Money distributed by them “will be independent from any resolution provided through the legal process,” a statement by Boeing outlines.
“The tragic loss of life in both accidents continues to weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we have the utmost sympathy for the loved ones of those on board,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and CEO, is quoted as saying in a statement. “Through our partnership with Feinberg and Biros, we hope affected families receive needed assistance as quickly and efficiently as possible”.
On July 17, 2019, ET302 and JT610 victims’ families, speaking at a U.S. Congressional committee hearing, claimed that Boeing has never directly reached out to them. “Boeing has never reached out to families about the impossible sorrow and grief we will carry for our entire lives,” according to Paul Njoroge, also confirmed by Michael Stumo. “Instead they have a press relations strategy to apologize to cameras and propose half-baked promises to give $100 million to local governments and nonprofit organizations”.
Paul Njoroge has lost his mother-in-law, wife and three children in ET302 crash. Michael Stumo has lost a daughter.