B737 Max crashes: Boeing faces criminal consequences

Boeing 737 Max (Photo: Jan Gruber).
Boeing 737 Max (Photo: Jan Gruber).

B737 Max crashes: Boeing faces criminal consequences

Boeing 737 Max (Photo: Jan Gruber).
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Things are coming to a head again for Boeing as the US Justice Department accuses the plane maker of violating an agreement that previously shielded it from prosecution following the tragic crashes of two 737 Max planes. This latest development could spell further legal and financial problems for the company, which was already struggling with the fallout from the crashes.

According to court documents, Boeing failed to implement a program designed to prevent violations of U.S. fraud laws as set forth in the agreement. Although the US government has not yet made a final decision, this finding poses serious consequences for Boeing.

The aircraft manufacturer has until June 13 to officially respond to the allegations. In an initial statement, Boeing emphasized that it believed it had complied with the terms of the agreement. However, the situation is delicate as the 737 Max crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 killed a total of 346 people and sparked massive criticism of Boeing's safety practices.

The plane crashes were caused by problems with software that was supposed to control the planes but ultimately led to a loss of control. Boeing came under fire for downplaying the importance of this software in certifying its aircraft.

As part of the agreement with the US government, Boeing paid a penalty of $243 million, but the fraud allegations were not pursued further. However, the agreement contained a probationary provision that required Boeing to implement a compliance and ethics program, which now appears to have not been met.

The Max planes were grounded for a long time after the crashes while Boeing carried out repairs. But even after that, the company was not spared from problems: In January of this year, a fuselage fragment broke out of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max shortly after takeoff. Fortunately, the two seats near the hole in the fuselage remained unoccupied and no one was seriously injured.

The recent incidents have prompted US authorities to launch further investigations and demand that Boeing come up with a plan to improve quality controls. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also temporarily blocked the planned expansion of 737 Max production.

The current development further increases pressure on Boeing and underscores the urgent need for the company to improve its safety practices and regain the trust of aviation authorities and the public.

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Editor of this article:

Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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Amely Mizzi is Executive Assistant at Aviation Direct Malta in San Pawl il-Baħar. She previously worked in the Aircraft and Vessel Financing division at a banking group. She is considered a linguistic talent and speaks seven languages ​​fluently. She prefers to spend her free time in Austria on the ski slopes and in summer on Mediterranean beaches, practically on her doorstep in Gozo.
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