The world’s biggest plane-maker Boeing announced on Monday it will begin to pay $50 million in financial assistance to the families of more than 300 victims of the two 737 Max crashes.
The money will be half of a $100 million financial assistance fund announced by Boeing in July “to address family and community needs of those affected by the tragedies.”
The other half of the fund will support education and economic empowerment in impacted communities, Boeing said.Families of each of the 346 victims of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed just months apart, are set to receive about $144,500 from Boeing.
Nomaan Husain, a Texas-based attorney who is representing 15 families, told the BBC that “$144,000 doesn’t come close to compensating any of our families or any of the families… This is not something that is going to satisfy the families. The families really want answers.”
According to Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg, the opening of the fund “is an important step in our efforts to help affected families.”
In July, the firm hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg and his colleague, Camille Biros, to come up with a formula to determine how the money is allocated.
“The recent 737 MAX tragedies weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of all those on board,” Muilenburg said.
A Boeing spokesperson said in July that people who accept funds will not be required to give up the right to pursue legal action against the company.
Boeing’s 737 MAX jets were grounded worldwide since mid-March, following the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people.
The company is facing multiple lawsuits and federal investigations related to the 737 MAX, and it is unclear when the aircraft will be allowed to fly again.
An investigation into the crashes has revealed the majority of the planes had a non-working alert for faulty sensor data. The company scheduled the problem to be fixed three years after discovering it and didn’t inform the FAA until one of the planes crashed.
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