US opens $500M fund for families of Boeing 737 MAX victims

A $500 million victim compensation fund for the relatives of the 346 people killed in two Boeing 737 MAX crashes has opened.

The fund is the result of a settlement with the Justice Department that was reached in January after prosecutors charged the company with fraud over the certification of the 737 MAX.

Boeing agreed to pay $500 million to compensate the heirs, relatives and beneficiaries of the passengers who died in the two flights in 2018 and 2019.

Each eligible family will receive nearly $1.45 million and money will be paid on a rolling basis as forms are submitted, claim administrators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros told Reuters.

Families have until October 15 to submit the forms.

Feinberg and Biros did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.

The compensation fund is part of a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department that also includes a more than $240 million fine and almost $1.8 billion in compensation to airlines that were unable to use their MAX jets while they were grounded for nearly two years.

An Oromo man hired to assist forensic investigators walks by a pile of twisted airplane debris at the crash site.
Prosecutors charged Boeing with fraud over the certification of the 737 MAX.
AFP via Getty Images

The settlement allowed Boeing to avoid criminal prosecution, but civil litigation by victims’ relatives remains ongoing.

Boeing began working on the MAX in 2011 in an effort to compete with European rival Airbus’ more fuel-efficient model.

But Boeing admitted in court filings that two of its technical pilot experts deceived the Federal Aviation Administration about a flight-control system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, that showed signs of malfunctioning.

A monument for the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
Boeing admitted in court filings that two of its technical pilot experts deceived the Federal Aviation Administration about malfunctions with a flight-control system.
REUTERS

Boeing downplayed the significance of MCAS, and most pilots didn’t know about it.

The first airlines began flying the 737 MAX in 2017. Over the next two years, there were two MAX crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

On both flights, MCAS was inadvertently activated, leaving pilots unable to regain control.

Family members hold photographs of Boeing 737 MAX crash victims.
Each eligible family will receive nearly $1.45 million in compensation.
REUTERS

After the planes were grounded worldwide, Boeing and the FAA worked on changes to MCAS that were approved in November.

In November, the FAA approved Boeing’s changes, and several carriers including American Airlines have resumed using the planes.

With Post wires