Boeing will pay $2.5 billion to resolve US criminal probe into 737 MAX crashes

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Boeing Co will pay over $2.5 billion to resolve the Justice Department’s investigation into two deadly 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people, the Justice Department said.

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The Justice Department said the settlement includes a criminal monetary penalty of $243.6 million, compensation payments to Boeing’s 737 MAX airline customers of $1.77 billion, and the establishment of a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund to compensate the heirs, relatives, and legal beneficiaries of the passengers.

The crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia triggered a slew of investigations faulting Boeing for poor design and the US Federal Aviation Administration with lax oversight.

Investigators have said the newly upgraded version of the world’s most-sold jet lurched downwards repeatedly because MCAS wrongly believed the nose was pointing too high, threatening loss of lift, due to a single faulty “Angle of Attack” sensor.

Although the plane has two such sensors, only one was designed to be used at a time, depriving the other of a backup. The new rules enforce changes designed to keep both active.

“A fundamental problem of the original MCAS is that many pilots did not even know it was there,” EASA said in a statement laying out why it had insisted on a more sweeping review, which investigation sources say put it at odds at times with the FAA.

“In the accident version of the aircraft, there was no caution light to make a pilot aware that the AoA sensor was faulty, making it almost impossible to determine the root cause of the problem,” EASA said.

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