Boeing has paid $2.5 billion to settle the Justice Department investigation and admits that its employees have misleaded regulators about the safety of the 737 Max aircraft.
The government and the company said Thursday that the agreement included families of victims of the accident, airline customers and fines.
Prosecutors said that Boeing employees concealed their actions after submitting misleading statements and anti-truths to the Federal Aviation Administration about the plane’s safety issues.
“Boeing’s employees took the path of profit rather than being honest,” said David Burns, Acting Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Boeing criticized two former pilots who helped determine how much training Max needed. CEO David Calhoun said their actions did not reflect the personality of the entire Boeing employee or the company.
Calhoun said, “This is a real solution to a very serious problem, and I firmly believe that entering this resolution is the right thing to do for us. It’s a step to properly admit that it doesn’t live up to our values and expectations,” said Calhoun. Note to the employee.
The government will withdraw the charges of conspiracy to deceive the United States after three years if Boeing follows the terms of the agreement.
The agreement removes the uncertainty over criminal prosecution against the iconic American aircraft manufacturer struggling to slow the Max crisis. Boeing still faces lawsuits from a family of passengers who died in an accident, lost more than 1,000 orders to Max, and once lost his reputation for engineering.
Boeing started working on Max in 2011 in response to a new, more fuel-efficient model of its European rival Airbus. Boeing admitted in court that two technical pilot experts cheated on the FAA for a flight control system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which means that if sensors indicate that the plane could be in aerodynamic hazard, the aircraft’s nose Can face down. Stall — may fall from the sky.
This system is not part of the previous 737 model. The reason for the addition of the MCAS is that Max’s larger engine, mounted higher and further forward on the 737’s low-consumption wing, tends to tilt the plane too forward in some conditions.
Boeing downplayed the importance of MCAS and did not mention it in its flight manual. Most pilots didn’t know about it.
The first airlines started flying the 737 Max in mid-2017. On October 29, 2018, Max, operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air, jumped into the Java Sea. The FAA kept Max flying, and on March 10, 2019 another Max, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed into the field almost straight away. A total of 346 people died.
In both flights, MCAS was activated due to incorrect reading of a single sensor. The system repeatedly pushed the nose of the plane, and the pilot was unable to regain control.
After the plane landed around the world, Boeing changed the MCAS to always use two sensors and, along with other changes, made the automation system less powerful and easier for pilots to ignore. The FAA has ordered other changes, including rerouting some wiring to avoid potentially dangerous short circuits.
In November, the FAA approved Boeing’s changes and several airlines, including American Airlines, re-used the plane.
Under an agreement announced Thursday, Boeing will pay $243 million in fines and $1.7 billion in remedies for airlines that were unable to use the Max jet, and $500 million in funds for families of deceased passengers. . In conflict.