Justice Department charges Boeing for 737 crashes

Company will pay $2.5 billion in penalties, compensation

The U.S. Justice Department has charged Boeing with “conspiracy to defraud the United States,” forcing the company to pay $2.5 billion in penalties and compensation after the investigations of the two 737 Max crashes, according to reporter Sam Sweeney.

In court documents obtained by ABC News, Boeing has agreed to pay a $243.6 million criminal penalty, $1.77 billion in compensation to the airlines and $500 million to the survivors of those killed in the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes, Sweeney reported.

The family of each person killed in the crashes will receive $1.4 million, according to reporter Greg Angel.

After nearly two years, the Federal Aviation Administration cleared Boeing’s 737 Max for flight.

The nation’s air safety agency announced the move in November, saying it was done after a “comprehensive and methodical” 20-month review.

Regulators around the world grounded the Max in March 2019, after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet. That happened less than five months after another Max flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea. A total of 346 passengers and crew members on both planes were killed.

A Boeing 737 Max departed Miami International Airport with 100 passengers aboard Dec. 29 for the aircraft’s first U.S. commercial flight since faulty sensor readings contributed to the two deadly crashes in 2019.

The American Airlines flight landed safely at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, The airline gave customers the chance to change flights if they were uncomfortable on the Max.

The first passenger flight with a revamped Max took place in early December in Brazil. Brazil’s Gol airlines has since operated more than 540 flights and Aeromexico has operated more than 80 with Max planes, according to tracking service Flightradar24.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.