Boeing moves to distribute second $US50m from MAX fund

February 18, 2020
Boeing MAX fund
Ethiopian 737 MAX engine. Image: CNBC

Charities nominated by victims’ families are set to benefit from the distribution of the remaining $US50 million from a fund set up in the wake of the fatal 737 Max accidents.

The manufacturer set up the $US100 million fund in 2019 to support communities and families affected by the Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashes.

The two crashes together killed 346 people and led to the global grounding of the MAX fleet in March 2019.

The aircraft still have not returned to the skies almost a year after the grounding and Boeing has halted production of the MAX.

The company in January put the total cost of the crashes at almost $US19 billion as it recorded its first annual loss in two decades.

READ: Boeing’s Max loss but future bright says CEO.

The fund is independent of the legal action being brought against the company by family members.

The first $US50million was allocated to provide the families with immediate financial assistance and administered in conjunction with Washington lawyers Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros.

Feinberg and Biros have again been enlisted to distribute the second tranche, the Boeing Community Investment Fund, and will begin working with families, governments and other interested parties to identify eligible charitable organizations.

“Following months of extensive discussions with victims’ families, government officials, community leaders and others, we determined the best path forward – both for those who lost loved ones and the communities affected by these accidents – is to empower the families to decide how to allocate these funds,” said Boeing executive vice president of government operations Tim Keating, who oversees the company’s charitable activities.

“Through this donation, it is our hope the families will be able to honor their loved ones in a manner that is both personal and meaningful to them while also creating a lasting legacy in their communities around the world.”

Keating said work was continuing on the US$50 million Boeing Financial Assistance Fund and the lawyers had made “tremendous progress” with the effort.

“Given their success and the trust they have built with the families, we have now asked Ken and Camille to oversee the important work of connecting families with the charitable organizations they deem most meaningful,’’ he said.

Boeing began settling lawsuits with families of the Lion Air crash last year and Reuters reported each of the families involved in the agreements would receive at least $US1.2 million.

Others suing the company include pilots and shareholders and Boeing is also subject to compensation claims from airlines and suppliers.