Families who lost relatives in fatal Boeing 737 Max air crashes including that of Nigeria Pius Adesanmi are set to receive about $144,500 each from the company.
“$144,000 doesn’t come close to compensating any of our families or any of the families,” said Nomaan Husain, a Texas-based attorney who is representing 15 families.
The fund, overseen by Washington lawyers Ken Feinberg and Camille S Biros, will begin accepting claims from family members immediately and family members will not be required to waive or release the right to litigate as a condition of participation.
March 10, 2019: Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8, registration ET-AVJ, on a flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya, crashed 6 minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people aboard:
149 passengers and 8 crew members. The plane was only 4 months old at the time of the accident. In response, numerous aviation authorities around the world grounded the 737 MAX, and many airlines followed suit on a voluntary basis. On March 13, 2019, the FAA became the last authority to ground the aircraft, reversing its previous stance that the MAX was safe to fly
The 737 MAX has been grounded since March after fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Claims must be postmarked no later than December 31, the fund said.
Boeing in July pledged $100m to families and communities affected by the crashes.
The company later said half would be reserved for direct payments to families, with the other half set aside for education and development programmes in affected communities.
Robert A Clifford, lead counsel for the Ethiopian Airlines 302 litigation, said the lack of detail at the time of the initial announcement suggested Boeing saw it primarily as a way to divert attention from the safety questions.
Lawyers for the victims’ families, many of whom are pursuing the company in court, have dismissed the fund as a publicity stunt.
A statement by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the company continued to extend its “deepest sympathies” to the families and loved ones of victims of the twin crashes. “The opening of this fund is an important step in our efforts to help affected families,” he said.
Boeing also announced in July it planned to spend an additional $US50 million to support education and economic empowerment in impacted communities. Nearly 100 lawsuits have been filed against Boeing by at least a dozen law firms representing families of the Ethiopian Airlines crash victims, who came from 35 different countries, including nine US citizens and 19 Canadians while families of about 60 victims have yet to file lawsuits but plaintiffs’ lawyers said they anticipated more to come.
Families lost relatives in fatal Boeing 737 Max air crashes on March 10 2019, on a trip from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi in Kenya. This was the second crash in five months of the 737 max model. Another had happened on October 10 2019 in Indonesia. Both disasters led to the grounding of all models of the aircraft.