Boeing assess guilty plea repercussions with US Defense Department: reports

U.S. Air Force photo

Boeing is in talks with the US Defense Department to assess any repercussions on current and future contracts following news that the planemaker agreed to plead guilty with the Department of Justice to a criminal charge related to two 737 MAX 8 deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, according to Reuters 

The news agency said that a source briefed on the matter confirmed talks had begun as Boeing tries to establish what, if any, the guilty plea will have on its defense segment, which in 2023 accounted for around a third of its revenues.  

“DOD will assess the company’s remediation plans and agreement with the Department of Justice to make a determination as to what steps are necessary and appropriate to protect the federal government,” said Department of Defense spokesperson Air Force Major General Patrick Ryder. 

Despite Boeing’s anxiety a criminal conviction is unlikely to affect contracts with the Defense Department and NASA as the US government is likely to argue that these arrangements are necessary in the national interest.    

The criminal fraud conspiracy charge against Boeing came following the US government’s decision that the planemaker had violated a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement put in place following the 737 MAX fatal crashes. 

The violation occurred when a door plug separated from an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 shortly after takeoff on January 5, 2024, just days before the three-year deferred prosecution was due to expire.   

It was reported that Boeing will plead guilty to the criminal fraud conspiracy charge and pay an additional $243.6 million fine and invest at least $455 million in safety programs at the company if the plea deal receives the approval of a federal judge. Final details on the deal are expected on July 19, 2024.  

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