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Boeing fined $2.5 billion for deceiving aircraft safety regulators

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The Boeing Company has agreed to pay the Department of Justice over $2.5 billion after conspiring to defraud FAA regulators evaluating Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.

The Department of Justice claims that in 2016, two high-ranking technical pilots knowingly withheld information about changes made to the 737 MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) from the FAA’s Aircraft Evaluation Group.

This deceit was believed to have deprived the FAA of information about the MCAS that could have allowed better safety regulations and training materials, according to the Department of Justice.

The charges came following investigations of the separate crashes of 737 MAX Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed a combined 346 people. The MCAS was activated in both of the incidents and is believed to have played a role in both crashes.

“The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Boeing will pay a total criminal monetary amount of over $2.5 billion, composed of 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 346 passengers who died in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

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Cameron Sheppard

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Cameron Sheppard