US opens fund for relatives of 737 MAX crash victims

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The United States reportedly opened a $500 million fund to compensate relatives of the 346 victims who died in the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Each eligible family would receive approximately $1.45 million from the fund. Families will have time to complete claim forms until October 15, 2021, the claim administrator told Reuters. 

In January 2021, Boeing agreed to create a $500 million crash-victim fund over fraud charges related to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft manufacturing flaws. The fund is a part of a $2.5 billion settlement the US Justice Department reached with Boeing after prosecutors charged the planemaker with fraud over the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. 

“I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do – a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations,” Boeing CEO David L. Calhoun reacted in a message to the company’s employees in January 2021. “This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations.”

Both crashes of Lion Air flight JT610 in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 in March 2019 were blamed on a malfunction of the MCAS system. The system, which at the time was a little-known innovation installed on all Boeing MAX planes, is activated when the angle of attack (AOA) sensors indicate that the airframe is in a dangerous angle and attempts to correct it. The lack of redundancy in the design combined with a faulty sensor  caused the downings of flights ET302 and JT610. 

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ungrounded the aircraft on November 18, 2021. 


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