Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

US Prosecutors Recommend Criminal Charges Against Boeing for 737 Max Violations

US prosecutors have advised the Department of Justice (DoJ) to bring criminal charges against Boeing, following claims that the plane maker violated a settlement related to two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft, which resulted in 346 deaths. The DoJ asserts that Boeing breached the deferred prosecution agreement linked to these crashes.

When contacted by the BBC, Boeing declined to comment but has previously denied violating the agreement. The DoJ has until 7 July to decide on prosecuting the company. The recommendation is not final, and details of potential criminal actions remain unclear, according to CBS, the BBC’s US partner.

“This is a really critical decision that is coming up,” said Ed Pierson, Executive Director of the Foundation for Aviation Safety and a former Boeing senior manager. He expressed concerns about ongoing issues with Boeing’s 737 Max, 787, and 777 aircraft, attributing these problems to company leadership.

The crashes involving Boeing’s 737 Max occurred within six months of each other. The first crash, involving Indonesia’s Lion Air, occurred in October 2018, followed by an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March 2019. Last week, relatives of the victims urged prosecutors to impose a $25 billion fine on Boeing and pursue criminal prosecution.

In 2021, Boeing agreed to a $2.5 billion settlement, with the understanding that a criminal charge would be dropped after three years if the company met certain conditions. However, the DoJ recently stated that Boeing failed to “design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of US fraud laws.”

Boeing’s outgoing CEO, Dave Calhoun, faced tough questioning from US senators last week. He testified that the company had “learned” from past mistakes and that the whistleblower process was effective. Despite this, lawmakers accused him of not addressing a culture of retaliation adequately. Whistleblowers have reported serious production issues with the 737 Max, the 787 Dreamliner, and the 777 models.

Most recently, Boeing was in the spotlight when a door panel fell off a new 737 Max plane during an Alaska Airlines flight in January, leaving a gaping hole. Calhoun, who has served as CEO since 2019, will step down at the end of 2024 with a $33 million pay package and will remain on Boeing’s board. He succeeded Dennis Muilenburg, who was fired after the two crashes.

Ed Pierson criticized the leadership changes at Boeing as “superficial,” noting that even when Calhoun was named CEO, he had already been with the company for a decade. “They are making those decisions that are affecting millions and millions of people for many, many years,” Pierson said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *