Boeing to compensate victims in Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash

Europe is set to lift a 22-month flight ban on the Boeing 737 MAX this week after reviewing submissions by industry experts and whistleblowers, angering relatives of some of the 346 crash victims, who say the move is premature. /VCG
Boeing 737 MAX /VCG

Boeing has reached an agreement with the families of victims of the March 2019 737 MAX crash that killed 157 people in Ethiopia.

In the agreement, Boeing accepted responsibility for the crash.

“Boeing is committed to ensuring that all families who lost loved ones in the accidents are fully and fairly compensated for their loss,” the company said in a statement. “By accepting responsibility, Boeing’s agreement with the families allows the parties to focus their efforts on determining the appropriate compensation for each family.”

The lead lawyers for victims’ families hailed the agreement as “historic” and a “significant milestone for the families in their pursuit of justice against Boeing.”

“It will ensure they are all treated equitably and eligible to recover full damages,” said lawyers Robert Clifford, Steven Marks, and Justin Green in a statement.

The agreement proposed Wednesday does not mention specific sums but said that jurors will be responsible for assessing amounts of compensation based on the evidence presented.

The families of the victims will be able to take steps to obtain compensation in U.S. courts.

Flight 302 to Nairobi, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed southeast of the capital Addis Ababa six minutes after taking off on March 10, 2019.

The accident resulted in the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet, and the worst crisis in the history of the American aircraft manufacturer, as it came after a 737 MAX operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189 people.

The planes remained grounded for 20 months before being gradually allowed to fly around the world since the end of 2020.

Airlines have brought back into service more than 200 aircraft.